ECB Says "Working Closely With Government" To Resume Cricket In England
The England Cricket Board said they are working closely with the government to establish when and how to resume play in the safest manner.
The lockdown has been extended to June 1 in the UK
ECB said it will continue to be led by the government's advice
ECB remained hopeful of cricket being played in the summer in the UK
As UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson extended the lockdown till at least June 1 in the country, the England and Wales Cricket Board said that the cricket body is working closely with the government to safely resume cricket. The ECB had earlier stated that recreational cricket would not be played in the UK till at least July 1, and the board said that this recommendation remains in place at present. "ECB is aware of the government's announcement pertaining to the next steps of this crisis and we will continue to be led by their advice. While our recommendation to suspend all forms of recreational cricket remains in place at present, everyone across the sport is hoping that we will see cricket played across England and Wales this summer," the ECB said in an official statement.
"We are working closely with the government to establish when and how it will be safe to resume play, and we look forward to sharing our plans as they progress," it added.
Currently, all sporting action across the world has come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
England were slated to play a two-match Test series against Sri Lanka in March this year, but that was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
During an address to the nation, UK PM Johnson on Sunday unveiled "careful steps" the government will take to ease the emergency restrictions implemented under nation-wide lockdown to stem the coronavirus spread, CNN reported.
"If we, as a nation, begin to fulfil the conditions I have set out, then in the next few weeks and months, we may be able to go further," Johnson said after confirming that the nationwide stay-at-home order would be relaxed on Wednesday to allow for unlimited outdoor exercise. "At the earliest by June 1, after half term, we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased re-opening of shops and to get primary pupils back into school."
"From this Wednesday, we want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise," Johnson said during his address to the nation on Sunday.
The death toll from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom has increased to 31,855, the Health Department said on Sunday. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 219,183 in total.
While the stay-at-home order has been relaxed, Johnson affirmed that there will be "no immediate end" to the nationwide lockdown. "This is not the time simply to end the lockdown this week...we are taking the first careful steps to modify our measures," Johnson said.
"It would be madness now to throw away that achievement by allowing a second spike...we must stay alert. We must continue to control the virus and save lives," he added.