Prime minister Boris Johnson has offered hope to club cricketers disappointed not to see cricket listed among the activities allowed once more when lockdown restrictions are eased on July 4.
Speaking earlier in the Houses of Commons, Johnson poured cold water on hopes of a resumption. “Everybody will want to add something onto the great wheelbarrow of measures that we’re making and at a certain point, there will come a straw that breaks the camel’s back,” said Johnson. “The problem with cricket, everybody understands that the ball is a natural vector of disease. At any rate, we’ve been round it many times with our scientific friends, at the moment, we’re still working on ways to make cricket more Covid-secure but we can’t change the guidance yet.”
The reaction to his statement was angry, in the main, with former England captain Michael Vaughan particularly critical, branding the decision “utter nonsense”. Speaking at the daily briefing, and answering a question about what he has most missed during lockdown, Johnson hinted that further relaxations could be introduced further down the line.
“I would like to play village cricket again,” he said. “I want to stress that we are working on all of these things. We are working with all the industries, performing arts, the theatres, gyms. All the things we can’t quite do at the moment, sports such as cricket, we are trying to make it work as fast as we possibly can. Don’t think that this package represents the summit of our ambitions; it’s as far as we can go for now.”
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