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‘Amazed and disappointed’ – MP criticises Johnson’s ban of recreational cricket

Johnson recreational cricket
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Greg Clark, the MP who yesterday asked UK prime minister Boris Johnson whether or not members of the public can once again play recreational cricket, has written an article in the Telegraph criticising Johnson’s response.

Clark had asked the prime minister, “Can [Johnson] now specify whether the ban on cricket has come to an end? Cricket is perhaps our most socially-distanced team sport. We’ve lost half the summer, but there is another half left to be enjoyed by players and spectators alike.” Johnson responded to Clark by saying that a cricket ball is ‘a natural vector of disease.’

Clark, the Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells, wrote in the Telegraph that he was “amazed and disappointed” by the prime minister’s answer. Clark questioned Johnson’s assertion that a cricket ball was a ‘natural vector of disease’. “The possibility of a ball transmitting significant infection in the open air has been described as remote by scientists,” wrote Clark. “And that is without the precaution of requiring regular cleaning with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, which, as Michael Vaughan wrote for Telegraph Sport on Wednesday, is easily done.

“I would be more wary of the door handle of a pub loo than I would a cricket ball touched by a bowler and a few fielders whose hands have been sanitised.”

Clark also voiced concerns over the potential of seeing children’s enthusiasm for the game wane after initially being inspired to take up cricket during last year’s World Cup and Ashes series. He finished his article by urging the prime minister to reconsider his position.

He wrote: “I hope that the government will rethink this. Hours after his answer to me in the Commons, the Prime Minister declared that he hoped to play village cricket this summer. That’s a positive sign. I hope that the ECB and the Government will be able to review the precautions possible and come to a different view.

“But if a change of heart is not made within days, then it will be too late to salvage the last few weeks of the season. For players and spectators, adults and children, that would be a late summer of enjoyment and fitness that if lost, can never be regained.”

Brought to you in association with NatWest, Wisden’s Club Cricket Partner, supporting cricket at all levels for almost 40 years and a proud partner of the ECB and Chance to Shine. NatWest CricketForce helps local cricket clubs to make more from their money through free online advice and toolkits.

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