The summer season is currently suspended until May 28 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the first international match still booked for a week later.
In reality, no one is expecting the first Test will take place between England and the West Indies at the Oval as planned.
Ashley Giles, Managing Director England and Wales Cricket Board, is well aware of the work that must be done and is an advocate of intra-squad friendlies as a possible solution.
“From a playing point of view, I think we’ll need to play a couple of warm-up games (before a Test match),” he stated.
“Believe me, and we will do whatever we can, as long as our people are safe, to get out there and play cricket.”
Australia adopted a similar approach to help narrow down selection ahead of last summer’s Ashes. At the same time, back in 2010, England was turned over in a Twenty20 practice match by their second string in Abu Dhabi.
Batsmen Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter caught the eye, earned a promotion to the senior team, and helped the side to become Cricket T20 World Champions within a matter of months.
It is not yet clear whether England would play a Test team against a shadow XI or mix Test and limited-overs specialists to get as many of their contracted personnel on the pitch.
Giles, meanwhile, suggested any of the 18 county headquarters and the ECB’s performance center at Loughborough could act as the host venue.
“If we have to do that, we will. We have certainly looked at playing two formats around the same time,” he stated.
“You might have a Test match running and play a T20 or an ODI the day before or the day after a Test match. We have got enough depth where we can divide our resources, but we haven’t got that far.
Giles admitted contingency planning was well underway for changes to an international schedule that also includes series against Pakistan, Australia, and Ireland in addition to the West Indies.
“The deadline of May 28 still stands, but it’s looking less and less likely that we’re going to be out there in June. We need to take a look at options,” he stated.
“We are looking at scenarios where we can push those matches back as far as possible without losing any cricket. Whether eventually, games start falling off the calendar right now, we don’t know – the experts don’t know when we might be clear – so we are preparing schedules and scenarios.”
“If we can’t get it all, it’s really important we work in partnership with all the other boards. It is really important we work with them doing what we can to fulfill those fixtures but with a priority on keeping people safe.”