Club cricket remains on hold as domestic professional game suspended until August
PUBLISHED: 13:41 15 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:41 15 June 2020
There will be no domestic professional cricket until August at the very least – casting serious doubt over whether clubs in the Herts Cricket League will see any form of action this year.
The league had said back in May that to get at least half of the regular season played they would need to be back out on the pitch by July 25 at the latest.
That won’t now happen following the further delay in the professional ranks announced by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and the fact all recreational cricket remains suspended until further notice.
The only exception to that rule is the use of outdoor cricket facilities such as nets and pitches for the purpose of undertaking exercise.
Chief executive officer of the ECB, Tom Harrison, said: “Naturally we want to see cricket being played at every level. We remain hopeful of seeing both domestic and recreational cricket this season and planning with the professional game group has allowed us to map a number of potential scenarios for domestic play.
“Whilst traditional formats of our competitions are the preference, we are not against exploring the unorthodox to ensure that we can return our players to the field.
“That can only happen though when it is safe and we have said throughout this crisis that the safety and well-being of everyone involved in the game is our key priority.
“We have learned a lot and continue to learn about the safety protocols that would need to be in place to stage international cricket behind closed doors in this environment and those protocols will also need to apply to the domestic game.
“Across the recreational game it has been heart-warming to hear of clubs where players have returned to the nets.
“As children start returning to school in the coming weeks, we look forward to exploring how those guidelines and learnings can be deployed for cricket. This can then see the recreational game continue its phased return as soon as we have government approval.”
The ECB added they will seek to “progress discussions with the government to begin mapping out a return”, including the potential for an earlier return of junior cricket.
Their roadmap which would herald the return of recreational cricket has the position at step three of five, with the fifth meaning the removal of social distancing measures.
However, they admit on their website that they feel “at this time it is hard to see us getting to this stage this summer”.
Step four involves adapted gameplay for both adults and juniors and shorter formats “to allow more matches to take place”.
Current plans in the professional game that have come about following discussions with the PPG include options for both red-ball and white-ball cricket.
This could be matches played at all first-class grounds, the use of a regional group model as well as consideration for matches played behind closed doors or with a limited number of supporters whilst strictly adhering to government guidance on social distancing.
The working group is also exploring options where non-televised games can be live streamed for members and supporters.
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