YORKSHIRE are hoping to begin a phased return to training for the club’s playing staff next week, as the prospect of county cricket this summer moves closer.

It is planned that the finer details of a shortened county schedule will become clearer this week, with White Rose director of cricket Martyn Moxon “hopeful” of Plan A - four-day cricket and T20.

Assuming there are no further complications with coronavirus, domestic cricket would be played through August and September and possibly into October.

The England and Wales Cricket Board are working towards a regionalised four-day competition, added to a Vitality Blast.

“We can’t be 100 per cent sure because things can change very quickly with the virus, etc, but there’s a real desire to have a couple of months of cricket,” said Moxon.

“I’m hopeful that Plan A can happen, but we need hotels to be open and things to work that are out of our control, I suppose. But signs are good that they will be.

“I’d like to think we will have Plan A available to us. But, whatever happens, as long as we can play some cricket, that’s the main priority.”

It has already been reported that further options include a T20 Blast alone or 50-over cricket and T20 cricket.

“Once we get the green light, the plan is to get the lads back to training from the week commencing June 29 - some time that week,” said Moxon.

Last week was a particularly busy one for Moxon, who led player appraisals, discussing things such as new contracts.

With Tim Bresnan opting to depart Emerald Headingley early, the county now have 12 players out of contract at the end of this summer.

Both for the players themselves - the majority are young lads trying to make their way in the game - and for the club, Moxon describes things as “difficult”.

“It’s a particularly difficult time for lads who are out of contract,” he said.

“Making decisions on them is also incredibly difficult because we’ve got no evidence to go on from this season as to how they’ve performed. You are going on what they’ve done already.

“In our case, a lot of ours are young lads who haven’t played very much.

“Also, a lot of these lads might not play much cricket this summer because we’re talking about the first team.

“We’ve no idea how much second-team or any other form of cricket will be played. At the minute, the priority is getting first-team cricket going.”

The contract situation is complicated by the timing of a potential summer restart.

Players have already been given an indication of Yorkshire’s intention regarding an offer of contract, before a firm decision needs to be made by the end of July. But there will be no cricket before August 1 at least.

Of course, being told you won’t be offered a new deal is not definitely the end.

Last July, Darren Stevens was told by Kent that he was to be released, only for him to end the season in style with a double century and seven wickets in a Championship win at Emerald Headingley.

Kent reversed their decision and offered the now 44-year-old a new one-year deal.

Moxon said: “We’ve all bought into giving the lads, although it’s not legally binding, an intention of what’s likely to happen to them by the end of July.

“It might help some that they get chance to play, although that might not have too much of an effect on decisions.

“Unfortunately, a number of decisions will be made on financial reasons and not cricketing ones.”

Should a four-day competition be ruled out due to difficulties with hotel stay for teams, there is still the possibility of localised red ball friendlies where teams could commute daily.

Moxon added: “We know there would be counties willing to set up friendly games, and with second-team friendlies it’s similar.

“If there’s no national competition for second XIs, we will also try and set up friendlies with counties. There is an absolute will around the country for that to happen.”