London [UK], July 24 (ANI): Surrey County Club will lock horns with Middlesex at the Kia Oval, while last season's County Champions Essex will take on Kent at Chelmsford, in the first round matches of Bob Willis Trophy, the fixtures of which were announced on Friday.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) also confirmed that this summer's curtailed domestic season will include a 50-over women's competition.
The Bob Willis Trophy, which gets underway on August 1 will hold the first-class status, but is a separate competition from the County Championship, and will comprise three regionalised groups, consisting of six counties per group.
"There has been a strong determination across the game to play men's and women's domestic cricket his summer and the fact that we will owe to the significant work and collaboration across the county network," said ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison in an official statement.
"The efforts to deliver a new one-off men's and women's competition, in addition to a shortened Vitality Blast, to meet the unprecedented requirements of playing professional cricket during a pandemic have been remarkable," he added.
The playing conditions have been put in place following extensive medical research and in collaboration with the first-class Counties and the Professional Cricketers' Association, and include:
A reduction from a minimum of 96 overs to a minimum of 90 overs in a day's play.
Each county's first innings of a match can last no longer than 120 overs.
The follow-on will increase from 150 to 200 runs.
The new ball will be available after 90 overs rather than 80 overs.
Performance Cricket Committee Chair, Sir Andrew Strauss, said, "Following appropriate medical consideration these measures have been put in place for the Bob Willis Trophy to help to protect players from the risk of long-term injury and any impact that could have on their careers." (ANI)