Worcestershire, Surrey and Somerset cancel trips to United Arab Emirates over coronavirus fear

The Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi
The Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi had been due to stage Worcestershire's game with Somerset

Worcestershire and Somerset have cancelled their scheduled pre-season trips to the United Arab Emirates because of concerns about coronavirus.

The teams were due to be in Abu Dhabi this month and were set to play five days of cricket against each other.

But they have followed the lead of Lancashire, who on Monday called off a trip to Dubai and South Africa.

Surrey have also cancelled a pre-season training camp in Dubai, although Essex flew to Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Essex are to spend a few days training there to prepare for the champion county game against the MCC in Galle, Sri Lanka, from 24-27 March.

Lancashire's trip was scheduled to include a four-day stay in Dubai before travelling to South Africa for training in Potchefstroom between 17 March and 1 April.

"We just have to follow the advice we've been given," said Lancashire head coach Glen Chapple.

Worcestershire's rehashed arrangements are a further blow to the Pears' plans for the 2020 season following the flooding of their New Road ground.

"Having concluded our own internal risk assessment, following the outbreak of Covid-19, we can confirm the squad will not be going on pre-season tour to Abu Dhabi," said a club statement.

"Contingency plans have been worked on since mid-February. We hope to be in a position to update members when these plans are concluded shortly."

Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry said: "We have endeavoured to give ourselves as much time as possible to make this best-informed decision, allowing us to consider our position as more information has become available on a daily basis.

"Obviously, the health and wellbeing of our players, support staff and their families are of the highest importance."

The new domestic season is scheduled to begin on Sunday 12 April, when Lancashire and Somerset both have Division One home games and Worcestershire are due to play Middlesex at Lord's.