Test cricket might be on it’s way back with the England-West Indies series set to start in Southampton next week despite the ongoing battle with the coronavirus but recreational cricket still does not have the green signal from the UK government.
Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister claimed in an interview on LBC, that “teas” and “changing rooms” were among the reasons why the game could not yet be considered safe to resume.
Johnson backtracked on his original reasoning for the ongoing suspension of the amateur game – namely his declaration in the House of Commons last month that a cricket ball is a “natural vector of disease” – said that there are “various other considerations”.
When probed further Johnson said, “There are reasons. These debates have gone round and round. There are various other considerations. The long answer, which I think probably Chris Whitty [Chief Medical Officer] would give if he were here about cricket, the risk is not so much the ball though that may be a factor, it’s the teas, the changing rooms and so on and so forth.
“There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis. You’ve taken me into a rabbit hole of detail when really what people understand is that this is a battle against a pandemic which we have fought so far with the use of social distancing measures and we are very largely winning.”
Currently in UK, only socially distant practice sessions are allowed. Johnson’s remarks interestingly come on the back of the England Cricket Board’s directive to clubs that dressing rooms would not be operational and players would have to arrive ready to play.
“The ECB believes 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,” said a spokesperson.
“The detailed submission we have shared with the Department For Digital, Culture, Media and Sport includes advice on how we can stage cricket safely and mitigate all potential risks.
“We believe this advice – allied with strict hygiene measures – means recreational cricket should be viewed as safe by the UK Government, which would be welcome news to our nation’s recreational cricketers.”
A tweet from Cricket Germany, where the recreational game has already resumed, added: “If this is the case then do what we and other European countries do; 1. no changing rooms, 2. no teas (everybody brings their own tea) #notrocketscience.”