ESSEX'S new season will start with them competing in a shortened red-ball tournament called the Bob Willis Trophy.

The reigning county champions will begin the delayed 2020 campaign with a four-day competition for all 18 First-Class counties in the trophy.

This year's abridged red-ball competition has been named after former England captain and fast bowler Willis, who died in December at the age of 70.

The season will commence with the trophy and will be followed by a shortened Vitality Blast competition, starting on August 27.

ECB Managing Director of County Cricket Neil Snowball said: “The enforced break due to COVID-19 has provided a challenging period for the county game during which time the 18 First-Class Counties have been united with a common goal to get back to our core function of playing cricket.

“The commitment of the Chairs and Chief Executives of the First-Class Counties to work together to achieve that ambition has been resolute and we will remain in close discussion as we continue to assess risk factors that need to be mitigated in order to ensure the safety and welfare of their players, coaches and staff.

“We are all delighted that agreement has been reached across the game and we are now in a position to look forward to and prepare for a new men’s domestic season starting on August 1.”