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London (AFP) – New Zealand’s BJ Watling and Australia’s Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner will no longer play for Lancashire this season because of the impact of the coronavirus, the English county said Friday.
Cricket fixtures in England have been cancelled until May 28 due to the pandemic, with further delays likely given the British government’s announcement Thursday of a further three weeks of lockdown.
New Zealand wicketkeeper/batsman Watling was signed for the opening nine County Championship games whilst Maxwell and Faulkner would have played for Lancashire in the Twenty20 Blast competition, having both featured in last season’s edition for the northwest county.
Lancashire said their contracts would be ended by “mutual termination”.
“I would like to thank BJ, Glenn, James and their representatives for their total understanding of the current situation and full agreement of this decision,” Lancashire director of cricket Paul Allott said in a statement.
The former Lancashire and England paceman explained that “uncertain and challenging times” for county finances had led the Old Trafford club to think it “prudent to mutually come to an agreement with the players we had originally signed”.
Allott added Lancashire had the option to sign the trio again in 2021.
He said that one potential benefit from their absence this year would be greater opportunities for homegrown players should a truncated season eventually get underway.
Meanwhile Allott confirmed Lancashire’s players had “unanimously agreed” a 20 percent salary reduction for the month of May that will also apply to the Red Rose club’s other staff.
Hampshire last week announced that Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon would not play for the southern county this season because of the spread of COVID-19.