ECB to step up plans to restart behind closed doors
The England and Wales Cricket Board will step up plans to restart the sport behind closed doors after the British government gave the green light to return to action.
Government officials have confirmed cricket and other sports will be able to resume from next week after the publication of health and safety guidelines designed to prevent the spread of the disease.
The ECB will now study the document to determine how it can help the process of its sport emerging from the pandemic lockdown.
"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," an ECB statement said on Sunday.
"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."
The Government's approval of stage three of the return to elite sport came only two days after the ECB pushed back the start of the domestic season until August 1.
International cricket is pencilled in to return on July 8 after Cricket West Indies approved in principle the tour of England.
Plans have been drawn up to create "bio-secure" environments around each Test match, which are tentatively scheduled to start on July 8, 16, and 24 and are to be held behind closed doors in Southampton and Manchester.
England named a 55-man training group on Friday to prepare for the series, as well as a planned visit from Pakistan and limited-overs games against Australia.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Peter Parks