The ECB yesterday issued the following statement: 
 
'The Secretary of State's message on Tuesday evening outlined plans for earmarking an early July date as being the earliest possible return for recreational cricket. 
 
'Last week ECB published their 5 Step Roadmap highlighting that currently the game is in Step 3 of its return. The ECB will continue to work with and be led by UK Government advice, only advising clubs move into step 4 when the Government allows and when it is deemed medically safe to do so. 
 
'As cricket is a non-contact sport that involves individual disciplines within a team environment, the ECB are optimistic that forms of the game can be played while respecting social distancing. Step 4, Adapted Play, will allow for cricket to be played, operating under Government rules and with modifications to the game to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all involved. 
 
'It is ECB's ambition to deliver guidelines for a return to play as soon as possible after the Government gives permission to proceed, but please note that given the importance of ensuring cricket clubs and individuals are as safe as can be, this may take a few days from any Government announcement. 
 
'Further detail on National Competitions and National Participation Programmes will be shared with County Cricket Boards for onward distribution next week. 
 
'In preparation for further ECB announcements, Competition organisers across Counties and Leagues are encouraged to begin considering how they will respond when the ECB advises that we are able to move into Step 4 and whether local competitions are feasible.' 
 
The 'Adapted play' stage allows for shorter games (to allow more games to be played), probably with reduced numbers, with social distancing, and with other necessary measures to protect players and officials. Step 5 is 'Full play', allowing for matches to be played under conditions as near as normal as possible. 
 
We recommend that clubs use the 'Adapted play' stage to: 
 
restart junior cricket, which is a priority, and 
arrange practice and friendly games either within their own clubs or with neighbouring clubs, in order that they are ready to go as soon as we get the green light for for 'Full play'. 
 
Our fixture secretary is meanwhile actively considering options to make the most of whatever time is available once 'Full play' is possible. We will be consulting clubs to check on their readiness and preferences. As always, any thoughts from clubs will be welcomed.  
 
 
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