Essex Cricket can today confirm that the MCC Champion County Match against Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has been cancelled.
The fixture was due to take place in Sri Lanka at The Galle International Stadium between 24 and 27 March, but in light of the global outbreak of COVID-19, the decision has been made to cancel the match.
The Club can also confirm that the pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi is underway as planned.
The players and coaching staff flew out to the UAE on Monday 09 March for 12 days of intense pre-season training, and although matches against Worcestershire, Somerset and local opposition have been cancelled, the team will remain at their base and train as intended ahead of the 2020 season.
Head Coach Anthony McGrath said: “It’s a shame that the trip to Sri Lanka has been cancelled along with the fixtures we were due to play in Abu Dhabi, but we’re still using this trip as a way to get ourselves sharp ahead of the 2020 campaign and ensure that when things get underway against Yorkshire in April, we’ll be as prepared as possible.
“Since arriving the spread of coronavirus has increased globally, but rest assured that all the players, coaches and support staff are taking the necessary measures to decrease the risk of infection under the guidance of our medical professionals.
“The health and wellbeing of the squad is at the forefront of our day to day operations.”
Essex Cricket can confirm that the players, coaches and support staff will now return home early from the pre-season tour in Abu Dhabi.
The team travelled to the UAE on Monday 09 March and were due to stay until Saturday 21 March, however, after careful consideration, it has been decided that everybody will return to Chelmsford this weekend.
Derek Bowden, Chief Executive at Essex Cricket, said: “We have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation for a while, and although the area we’re based in is currently one of the least affected regions, the health and wellbeing of our players and staff is our highest priority, as is the season ahead.
“Therefore, the decision has been made for everybody to return early and to continue with pre-season preparations at Chelmsford.
“We’d like to thank and acknowledge the Members and fans who were planning on making the trip to support the team in both Abu Dhabi and Sri Lanka.”