An upbeat England and Wales Cricket Board has welcomed the UK government’s decision to allow the resumption professional sports behind closed doors. The move clears the deck’s for ECB to go ahead with its plan to host international cricket from next month.
In the latest health and safety guidelines designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden on Saturday gave the green light for live competitive sport to return behind closed doors in safe and carefully controlled environments from 1 June.
An upbeat England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has hailed the British Government’s decision to allow the sports action to resume from Monday for the first time since a lockdown was enforced and all mass activities were suspended in mid-March to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.
“We are extremely heartened by Saturday’s announcement from the Secretary of State, which will support the return of professional, domestic cricket behind closed doors, and provides a meaningful next step for recreational players to begin playing at their clubs again,” England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement.
Sports action in the UK is allowed to resume from today (Monday) behind closed doors. The Government, on Saturday had announced “phase three” guidance over restrictions imposed to minimise the threat of COVID-19, paving the way for live sport to return today for the first time since mid-March.
The guidelines, however, have left it to individual sports to assess the risk, and consult athletes, coaches and support staff.
The ECB has further added that it will study the guidelines. “Over the coming week, we will seek to understand the specific guidance from Government’s medical teams so that we can provide support for cricket clubs who will be eager to see their communities safely playing in small groups.”
“We extend our thanks to all those in Government who have worked hard to support the return of sport and we look forward to seeing players from across the game start returning to the field,” it added.
Despite the pandemic delaying the start of their home season, the ECB is looking to resume its international calendar with the three-Test series against West Indies from July 8. The other action included the home series against Pakistan and limited-overs internationals against Australia and Ireland at ‘bio-secure’ venues.
Last week, the ECB named 55 players to resume outdoor training to prepare for cricket behind closed doors.
The shortlist of players to resume indoor training includes: Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Tom Banton (Somerset), Dom Bess (Somerset), Sam Billings (Kent), James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Henry Brookes (Warwickshire), Pat Brown (Worcestershire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Brydon Carse (Durham), Mason Crane (Hampshire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Tom Curran (Surrey), Liam Dawson (Hampshire), Joe Denly (Kent), Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire), Laurie Evans (Sussex), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Richard Gleeson (Lancashire), Lewis Gregory (Somerset), Sam Hain (Warwickshire), Tom Helm (Middlesex), Will Jacks (Surrey), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Yorkshire), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Liam Livingstone (Lancashire), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Dawid Malan (Yorkshire), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Craig Overton (Somerset), Jamie Overton (Somerset), Matt Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Phil Salt (Sussex), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Reece Topley (Surrey), James Vince (Hampshire), Amar Virdi (Surrey), David Willey (Yorkshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).
The ECb had however deferred the resumption of the domestic cricket season to August 1.