The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a £61million support package to "keep the lights on" amid concerns the entire season will be lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison on Tuesday warned the governing body faces the biggest challenge in its history with the United Kingdom in lockdown.

Around £40m has been made available immediately as first-class counties and local cricket boards suffer from the financial impact of COVID-19, while around a further £21m will follow in interest-free loans for recreational clubs in a bid to ensure cricket can survive at all levels.

The start of the county season has already been delayed by six weeks until May 28, but there are fears that no play will be possible at all.

Alternatively, England's Test and limited-overs sides could play at the same time to cram in fixtures later in the season, while the inaugural edition of The Hundred may be postponed until next year or staged behind closed doors.

Harrison also confirmed that England players with central contracts will not be asked to take a pay cut or furloughed.

He said in a statement: "It is no exaggeration to say this is the biggest challenge the ECB has faced in its history.

"We are working around the clock to understand the impact on the game and we have taken these short-term steps to help counties and clubs get through the immediate impact."

Harrison added: "This is a real hammer blow to our plans. Our season is massively under threat now. It's an incredibly difficult time for the country and the game.

"Everyone will be impacted. Right now we are addressing the short term. There's more pain ahead if we lose a substantial portion of the season. We are building scenarios where we can take further steps as needed. We don't think this will be the end of it.

"We won't be playing until we know it is safe for players and eventually fans. We will then be prioritising the most valuable forms of the game: first international cricket, then the Blast and maybe The Hundred as and when we get there.

"This money - £40million in cash for immediate and then £20million in interest-free loans - is to give certainty in these extremely difficult times. It's to keep the lights on."

Cricket South Africa (CSA) is not planning to implement pay cuts for Proteas players during the coronavirus pandemic, though future salaries could be affected.

The Proteas' tour of India in March was cut short due to the proliferation of COVID-19 and all forms of cricket in South Africa were cancelled for 60 days on March 16.

Australia's visit to face the women's team was called off, while trips for the men to Sri Lanka in June and the West Indies in July could be in jeopardy if the situation has not improved six weeks prior to the start of those respective tours.

However, CSA chief executive Jacques Faul does not anticipate the salaries of players to be impacted in the short term, though the pot for future payments may have to be reduced.

"For now we've budgeted for the amount. It's a centralised system so both the Proteas and the franchise players have been budgeted for and we have enough to see through the next season," said Faul during a conference call.

"The players will lose out on match fees and win bonuses. If these tours are rescheduled they'll get the money. In the long term even if we cover this season we have to look at what it's going to be post this season and the financial impact of that and how much will be available to contract players.

"We've got to crunch the numbers first and experience the total effect of COVID-19, but it is a possibility the players will be receiving less of a player payment pool.

"I cannot see anyone for now getting less money than they're contracted for, but in future the allocation going to players I can see that being less."

Graeme Smith signed a three-month contract as director of cricket in December and Faul stated clarity on the former captain's tenure will be provided next week.

"We're in final negotiations with Graeme there will be an announcement next week," he said.

"We're at an advanced stage of the negotiations and hopefully we can make an announcement next week."

Bangladesh's tour of Ireland and England in May has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tigers were scheduled to play in a three-match ODI series and then four Twenty20 Internationals against Ireland during a trip that was to run between May 14-29.

However, the games were already placed in doubt after the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Friday that they will not stage any fixtures prior to May 28.

Cricket Ireland has now confirmed they will not be taking on Bangladesh as planned, with the T20 games having been scheduled to take place at venues in England.

"Once the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic was understood, and the advice of both Governments and partner boards was sought, it became increasingly unlikely that this series could proceed as scheduled," Warren Deutrom, chief executive of Cricket Ireland, said in a statement.

"We have a responsibility to protect the well-being of players, coaches, fans and the wider community, and will not hesitate to take a safety-first approach to our operations over coming months.

“We will continue monitoring the situation, and will liaise as necessary with relevant sports bodies, public health agencies and our stakeholders here and abroad, and provide further updates on the home season in due course."

The COVID-19 outbreak had already forced Bangladesh to shelve plans for a return trip to Pakistan, where they were due to play a one-off 50-over game and also the second Test of the series in Karachi.

Umar Akmal has been charged by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over two alleged breaches of its anti-corruption code.

The batsman was provisionally suspended from all cricket-related activities on February 20 under article 4.7.1 of the code, but the PCB did not give any further details of alleged wrongdoing.

Akmal has now been deemed to have breached article 2.4.4 in two unrelated incidents.

The 29-year-old has been charged with "failing to disclose to the PCB vigilance and security department (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the participant to engage in corrupt conduct under this anti-corruption code".

Akmal has until March 31 to respond in writing. If guilty, he could be handed a suspension ranging from six months to a lifetime ban. 

He has played 121 ODIs and 84 Twenty20 Internationals, also featuring in 16 Tests between 2009 and 2011.

Australia's remaining ODI matches against the Black Caps and the upcoming Twenty20 series have been postponed after the New Zealand government introduced strict travel conditions due to coronavirus.

The cancelation of the series comes as New Zealand enforce a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for those entering the country from midnight on Sunday (local time) amid the global COVID-19 outbreak.

After Australia's 71-run win over New Zealand in Friday's ODI opener played without fans at the SCG, the hosts were due to face the Black Caps in Sydney (Sunday) and Hobart (March 20) for the final two 50-over fixtures.

New Zealand were also set to host a three-match T20 series, starting in Dunedin on March 24, however, the games have been called off as the Black Caps rush home.

"Arrangements are being made to fly the bulk of the squad home this evening [Saturday]," New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said in a statement.

"NZC believes both these series can be replayed in their entirety at a later and more appropriate date.

"NZC understands and supports the government’s position. This is a time of unprecedented risk and peril, and the personal health and well-being of our players is paramount."

New Zealand's border restrictions could also impact the A-League, NRL and Super Rugby competitions.

Coronavirus continues to disrupt sport across the world, with the Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, MLS, NBA, NHL, MLB and tennis among the sports on hiatus, while the Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix was cancelled on Friday.

In Australia, there have been almost 200 cases of COVID-19 with three deaths, while New Zealand are yet to record a casualty in six cases so far.

Globally, over 5,400 people have died from the virus following more than 145,000 cases.

India's remaining two ODIs against South Africa have been postponed as the spread of coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the sporting calendar across the world.

The first ODI on Thursday was abandoned without a ball being bowled in Dharamsala due to bad weather.

And the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced on Friday the meetings in Lucknow on Sunday and Kolkata on March 18 - both scheduled to be played behind closed doors - will not go ahead as the COVID-19 threat grows.

South Africa will now visit India at a later date to play a three-match series.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed on Friday the IPL, due to get underway on March 29, will now begin on April 15.

There have been more than 80 confirmed cases of coronavirus in India, resulting in one death.

The first ODI international between India and South Africa was abandoned without a ball being bowled in Dharamsala.

Both teams suffered the same fate at the same venue six months ago when they were set to meet in a T20I showdown.

The washout means the three-match series will head to Lucknow on Sunday all square.

Bangladesh eased to a 2-0 series win over Zimbabwe as Liton Das' unbeaten 60 paved the way for a routine nine-wicket triumph in Wednesday's Twenty20 in Dhaka.

Brendan Taylor's haul of 59 not out from 48 deliveries at least helped Zimbabwe post a total of 119-7 from their 20 overs.

Das and fellow opener Mohammad Naim swiftly set to work dismantling that total, moving Bangladesh onto 77 before the latter picked out deep midwicket off Chris Mpofu.

But Das – man of the match and player of the series – was in no mood to hand Zimbabwe any more hope and, after two boundaries in succession, brought up his fifty with a single flicked towards fine leg.

Soumya Sarkar wasted little time in settling in, sending Wesley Madhevere for six before smashing a maximum off Mpofu to tie Bangladesh level, and a single two balls later secured a sixth straight victory for Bangladesh across all formats.

"I think the we way played, the way we have been consistent, that has been very pleasing," Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah said at the post-match presentation.

"Especially the way Liton showed consistency and hunger, really happy for him too. The hunger was there. Last couple of series we were not up to the mark. We are trying to build up the confidence for the World Cup."

Soumya Sarkar hit an unbeaten 62 as Bangladesh eased to a 48-run victory over Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20 International.

Sarkar's 32-ball innings, which included four fours and five sixes, helped propel Bangladesh to 200-3 in Dhaka. All five batsmen reached double figures, Liton Das also scoring a half-century with his 39-ball 59.

Zimbabwe wilted in response as they were bowled out for 152 with an over to spare. Mustafizur Rahman and Aminul Islam took three wickets apiece, with debutants Tinashe Kamunhukamwe (28) and Carl Mumba (25) the pick of the batsmen for the tourists.

The series comes to a close on Wednesday when the second and final match takes place at the same venue.

Andre Russell blasted 40 off just 14 balls to see West Indies home against Sri Lanka, while Shimron Hetmyer and Brandon King also starred in a series-clinching Twenty20 victory.

Sri Lanka, who were inserted by the tourists, were restricted to 155-6 and Dasun Shanaka (31 not out) was their only batsman to score more than 23.

The home team needed something special from their talisman Lasith Malinga with the ball, but the captain's three overs cost 46 runs as King (43) set the tone with back-to-back sixes in the powerplay.

Hetmyer (43 not out) shared a 46-run partnership with King and then put on an unbroken 55 alongside Russell, who smashed six maximums to bring about the end in a hurry.

Sri Lanka lost the first T20 by 25 runs and this Windies victory, achieved with 18 balls to spare, gave them a 2-0 triumph in the best-of-two-match series.

Oshane Thomas was the star of that opening T20 and he claimed his sixth wicket of the series when bowling Avishka Fernando.

Fabian Allen accounted for opener Kusal Perera, who had made 66 in the first meeting, and Shehan Jayasuriya to return figures of 2-24 from his four overs.

Sri Lanka needed early wickets and though Lendl Simmons was bowled by Angelo Mathews, King had made 43 from 21 before he was dismissed.

Some quick thinking from Jayasuriya in the deep saw Rovman Powell removed, the fielder throwing the ball up in the air and catching it again after rolling back off the rope and onto the field.

Yet Hetmyer and Russell could not be stopped, the latter pulling a shorter ball from Mathews over the fence to seal victory.

Najibullah Zadran and Rashid Khan guided Afghanistan to an 11-run DLS victory over Ireland in the first of three Twenty20 International clashes.

Rain stopped play with Afghanistan on 133-5 after 15 overs, needing 40 runs from 30 balls as they chased down a victory target of 173 in Greater Noida, India.

Afghanistan beat West Indies in their most recent T20I series and Zadran ensured they got over the line on Friday, his 42 runs from 21 balls coming in a crucial partnership of 63 with Samiullah Shinwari (28).

Paul Stirling (60) and Kevin O'Brien (35) had earlier given Ireland an electric start, though their innings lost momentum after the openers had been dismissed, with Rashid recording impressive figures of 3-22 from his four overs.

England fast bowler Jofra Archer has signed a two-year extension to his Sussex contract.

The 24-year-old, who made his international debut last year, has committed to the county until the end of 2021 season.

Cricket World Cup winner Archer was delighted to agree fresh terms.

"Sussex gave me my opportunity right at the beginning of my career, so I am very happy to commit long term to the club," said the paceman, who signed for Sussex in 2016.

Archer has 55 England wickets across all formats since making his breakthrough at the highest level but is currently sidelined with a low-grade stress fracture of his right elbow. 

West Indies marked captain Kieron Pollard's 500th T20 game with a dominant victory over Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Pollard became the first player to feature in 500 T20 matches and surpassed 10,000 runs in the format in Pallekele as the Windies cruised to a 25-run win.

The only other T20 series contested by the Windies this year ended in a 1-1 draw with Ireland. However, on this occasion the reigning T20 world champions provided compelling evidence they could defend their title later this year.

Oshane Thomas took a remarkable 5-28, the third-best figures in the team's T20I history, as Sri Lanka fell well shy of the visitors' 196-4 despite Kusal Perera's 66 off 38 balls.

Lendl Simmons had led the way with the bat for the tourists in the first game of a two-match series, his unbeaten 67 off 51 balls including seven fours and a pair of sixes.

Andre Russell cleared the rope four times in a quickfire 35 off 14 before Pollard, whose jersey was adorned with the number 500, added further impetus with 34 off 15 to help the Windies to their highest T20I score against Sri Lanka.

The hosts' hopes of reaching 197 quickly wilted in the face of a devastating bowling performance from Thomas, who had Avishka Fernando caught behind in the second over.

Shehan Jayasuriya followed with the next delivery and, though Thomas was unable to claim a hat-trick, Kusal Mendis' exit made it three in four balls for the seamer.

That left Sri Lanka on 17-3 but Kusal Perera and Angelo Mathews steadied the innings before the latter picked out a running Russell at midwicket.

Dasun Shanaka was done for pace as Thomas made it a five-for, yet Kusal Perera's stand of 87 with Wanindu Hasaranga (44 off 34) gave Sri Lanka hope.

However, the Windies correctly reviewed an lbw shout against Hasaranga and Kusal Perera was removed six balls later as Russell struck with a near-perfect yorker.

Thisara Perera (11) did offer fleeting resistance but was caught at deep square leg by Sheldon Cottrell who, after Pollard had fittingly taken a diving catch to remove Isuru Udana, rounded things off by cleaning up Lasith Malinga.

Kagiso Rabada will miss not only South Africa's one-dayers against Australia on home soil but also the upcoming tour to India due to a groin strain.

Paceman Rabada suffered the injury during the Twenty20 series with Australia, which concluded on Wednesday at Newlands in Cape Town, and underwent an MRI scan to assess the extent of the problem.

The 24-year-old will be sidelined for a month, according to a statement released by Cricket South Africa (CSA) on the eve of the first ODI in Paarl.

After hosting Australia, the Proteas travel to India for three 50-over fixtures, starting in Dharamsala on March 12.

"The significant injury means that he will take approximately four weeks to heal, which effectively rules him out of both the Australia and India ODI series," said Dr Shuaib Manjra, CSA's chief medical officer.

"The CSA medical staff will ensure his effective and expeditious recovery."

Rabada was rested for the limited-overs games against England earlier this year but returned to face Australia, picking up two wickets in his three appearances as the tourists won the T20 series by a 2-1 scoreline.

Australia clinched the Twenty20 series against South Africa in emphatic fashion at Newlands on Wednesday, thrashing the home side by 97 runs in the winner-takes-all showdown.

In a lopsided encounter remarkably similar to the first of the three games between the teams, the tourists posted a challenging total before skittling their opponents.

Opening duo David Warner and Aaron Finch both made half-centuries as they powered Australia to 193-5 after being put into bat.

The Proteas – who managed just 89 when chasing 197 last Friday – lost captain Quinton de Kock early and never threatened in a reply that lasted just 15.3 overs.

Mitchell Starc claimed the key early breakthrough, bowling left-hander De Kock with the fourth ball of the innings, and also removed Faf du Plessis cheaply during the powerplay. The paceman finished with figures of 3-23, wrapping up the win by trapping Kagiso Rabada in front.

Ashton Agar also claimed three wickets, with the spinner coming close to recording a second hat-trick in the series after seeing off Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi with successive deliveries in the 15th over.

Tabraiz Shamsi survived to deny Agar another treble but South Africa did not last too much longer, bowled out for 96 – the lowest total posted in a T20I at the Cape Town venue.

They appeared set to be chasing well in excess of 200 when Warner (57) and Finch (55) were in full flow, the pair putting on 120 in 11.3 overs.

Australia rather lost their way after the well-set pair departed in quick succession, yet Steve Smith – who surprisingly came in down at number five in the order – benefited from a repreive when bowled by a Rabada no ball to make an unbeaten 30 in a hurry.

Starc's double strike had South Africa teetering and while Rassie van der Dussen (24) and Heinrich Klaasen (22) tried to repair the damage, the slow-bowling combination of Agar (3-16) and Adam Zampa (2-10) turned the screw. Fittingly, the impressive Starc landed the knockout blow.

The two teams now turn their focus to 50-over cricket with a three-match ODI series rounding out Australia's trip. The first match takes place in Paarl on Saturday.

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