SOMERSET head coach Jason Kerr says that the prospect of the 2020 county cricket season beginning on August 1 is “extremely exciting”.

On Monday, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) gave its approval for the return of the professional game following the coronavirus pandemic.

The formats to be played during the delayed men’s county season are due to be agreed by the 18 First Class Counties in the coming days, with a new fixture schedule to be published thereafter.

Preparation and planning for the domestic season remains subject to government and medical advice - to ensure the safety of all involved - but Kerr is looking forward to getting going again.

He told the County Gazette: “Personally, it’s extremely exciting, as a huge amount of effort goes into preparing for the season over the winter.”

Members of the Somerset squad returned to individual training yesterday (Wednesday), and Kerr believes they will benefit from Taunton hosting some of England’s back-to-training sessions last month.

“The first few days will be one-to-one - one coach to one player - so there’s the opportunity to get some real quality work in.

“We’re fortunate in that we had a dress rehearsal with England training here in Taunton.

“Our medical and operational teams worked well, zoning off areas of the ground, and the players adapted well to that.

“We had limited time but that meant there was a real focus on practice.

“We had some great learning with England, and we can take that into Somerset training.”

It is not yet known how the 2020 season will be split between red-ball and white-ball cricket, and to what extent competitions will be regionalised.

“It [the season structure] has ebbed and flowed so much, but we know there will be T20 cricket in September, hopefully in front of a crowd,” Kerr said.

“We don’t know whether the prelude to that will be four-day or 50-over cricket.

“I don’t have a preference - it’s just great to play some cricket - but the sooner we know the sooner we can start planning and preparing.

“The season will look very different, but it makes sense to manage the playing environment and risk as much as you can.

“Less travel and less time in hotels makes sense in the circumstances.”

Teams also face the prospect of playing without fans in the ground, but Kerr added: “You play the game for the love of it as a kid, with no-one watching, so we will reinforce that message and if we take it into our games, it will stand us in good stead.

“We are very lucky in Taunton to play in front of great crowds, but we also play for the love of the game.”