Coronavirus: Graham Onions fears he won't play red-ball cricket all season
"Realistically, April is going to be gone - it's not just the players, groundsmen have to prepare pitches - and there is going to be a massive backlog to the season"
Last Updated: 21/03/20 8:11am
Graham Onions fears he may not bowl a red ball all season with the county-cricket calendar affected by the coronavirus.pandemic.
The County Championship was due to start on April 12 but there will be no professional cricket played in England until at least May 28 due to the outbreak, meaning the first seven Championship games have been delayed.
Sky Sports' Michael Atherton said on Thursday that he expects the ECB to prioritise international and white-ball cricket if the season is truncated, due to the revenue those forms generate, and Lancashire's former England and Durham seamer Onions agrees.
"The way they are going to have to look at it now is to get the white-ball cricket [ahead of] the red-ball stuff, which someone like myself is more specialised in," said Onions, 37.
"I am a traditionalist and I prefer red-ball cricket but we may not bowl a red ball all season potentially. It makes sense, though.
"From a financial point of view, white-ball cricket is probably going to have to take over, even if that is behind closed doors but with every game on TV.
"[The delay] is frustrating - we want to be out in front of crowds but we realise that's not going to happen. There is going to be a massive backlog to the season."
Lancashire are one of the bigger, cash-generating counties on the circuit but Onions says the coronavirus pausing the game will still affect his team as well as the smaller ones.
"It's a case of how much cricket we can get in to keep clubs going," added the paceman, who joined Lancashire ahead of the 2018 season.
"You have got smaller clubs who don't get the revenue of Lancashire but the flip side is that Lancashire have to pay big wages. It's a tricky time for everybody."
Onions' Lancashire team-mate, Keaton Jennings, said that it's important that all players look after their mental and physical well-being.
"I've been going on runs in open parks all around Manchester, which has been good fun," said the batsman. "I've been doing chin-ups on trees and taking it back to what essentially keeping fit is about. It has been good fun.
"I'm just trying to stay busy and engaged with anything that is going on. I've got my [economics] degree to be cracking on with as well, so I suppose every cloud has a silver lining. For me, it's the ability to knuckle down into some good studies."
Jennings was due to add to his 17 Test caps this month after being recalled by England for the Sri Lanka tour - but says any personal disappointment he feels about the being postponed is outweighed by the necessity to help protect people from coronavirus.
"When you look at a place like Sri Lanka which, I suppose, really relies on cricket, it's a massive shame," he said. "England fans love going there, too, especially to a place like Galle.
"I'm really disappointed from a personal point of view but it was the right call to make.
"I take my hat off to the ECB and all of the medical staff for taking a bit of a leap of faith and really keeping the England players and fans safe as well."