THE England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has advised that all recreational cricket is suspended until further notice, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has already affected cricket, forcing the England squad - featuring Somerset players Dom Bess and Jack Leach - to fly home from Sri Lanka, and postponing the Indian Premier League until April 15.

Last week saw Somerset County Cricket Club cancel its pre-season tour to Abu Dhabi, and it looks increasingly unlikely that the friendly match with Cardiff MCCU (April 7) and County Championship opener against Warwickshire (April 12), both in Taunton, will go ahead as planned.

This (Wednesday) afternoon, the ECB - which had previously said that it was considering the “possibility of playing matches behind closed doors, or potentially postponing or cancelling elements of the season” - put a halt to recreational cricket.

The ECB statement read: “Following the government’s advice around social distancing, it is with sadness and reluctance that we recommend that all forms of recreational cricket are for now suspended.

“This extends to training, pre-season friendlies and any associated cricket activity.”

The announcement affects clubs across Somerset which are building towards the start of the West of England Premier League (WEPL) season, which is (or was) scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 2.

Both the Somerset Cricket League and West Somerset Cricket League are currently scheduled to start on April 25, but that is in line to change with this latest announcement - with the same applying to women’s, youth and disability training sessions and matches.