IT is the "strong desire" of the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that the recreational game returns at the start of next month, following the latest government guidelines on the easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

Yesterday (June 23) prime minister Boris Johnson detailed changes to the two-metre social distancing rule, as well as allowing pubs, restaurants, cinemas, hairdressers, playgrounds and outdoor gyms to re-open from July 4.

However, when asked about the resumption of club cricket, Johnson said: "The problem with cricket as everybody understands, that the ball is a natural vector of disease, potentially, at any rate and we’ve been round it many times with our scientific friends.

"At the moment we’re still working on ways to make cricket more covid-secure, but we can’t change the guidance yet."

Nevertheless, the ECB is working to secure "the imminent and safe return of our sport at recreational level".

Yesterday evening saw the ECB release the following statement:

"The ECB, along with the nation’s cricket players, are keen to see the imminent and safe return of our sport at recreational level and have been working hard with government to achieve this.

"We believe that cricket is a non-contact sport, with very low risks of exposure, and that it can be played as safely as many other activities being currently permitted.

"It is our strong desire to work with government to see the return of recreational cricket on or around July 4, as they continue to lift other restrictions more broadly across society.

"We are heartened that the government has already permitted the return of other ball sports, including tennis and basketball, and we are sure that our interpretation of the risks around ball transmission is consistent with these other games.

"We can confirm that any guidance we share with the game will include directions on how to mitigate any risk from handling the ball, as we continue to prioritise the health and safety of the cricket family in all our decision-making."


SOMERSET County Cricket Club has announced that spin bowlers Dom Bess and Jack Leach will take part in a live, virtual Q&A session tomorrow evening.

The Somerset players are currently training with England ahead of the first Test against the West Indies on July 8.

The call, in conjunction with the Somerset Cricket Board, Devon Cricket Board, Dorset Cricket Board and Cornwall Cricket Board, will take place on Thursday, June 25 at 7pm, and will last for about one hour.

Using video conferencing software Zoom, host Steve Snell will be covering topics such as the art of spin bowling and advice for young cricketers.

Attendees will be encouraged to ask Bess and Leach questions in the call.

It is free to join and open for cricketers and non-cricketers of all ages and abilities; to join the session, you can register here.