Cricket latest - Are we likely to see local action any time soon?
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Sidmouth CC secretary Anthony Griffiths has given a cool reception to proposals aimed at getting cricket started by the middle of July, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.
All cricket in Devon has been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, although limited training sessions have been allowed for nearly three weeks.
The ECB outlined a return to playing plan to Premier League chairmen last week, which has now been shared with members of the Tolchards Devon Cricket League executive.
No definite dates have been released yet, but the framework is largely in place to get games on, once the ECB gets the go-ahead from the Government.
Initially, teams would be restricted to playing eight-a-side games from mid-July onwards, potentially leading to full-sized competitive cricket in early August.
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Griffiths said he imagined there would be some takers for eight-a-side cricket, but won’t be one of them.
“My feeling is either we play proper cricket or we don’t bother at all,” said Griffiths, a former 1st XI skipper who now captains the 2nd XI.
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“I am sure some of the younger players will want to play on the basis that any cricket is better than none at all – and I understand that.
“More senior players will want something with some edge to it. Hopefully that will come along in August.”
Nick Rogers, who as Devon League chairman took part in the video-conferencing briefing delivered by ECB, said the news was encouraging for clubs and players.
Rogers said: “The ECB has had a three-stage plan to deal with the situation: protect, prepare and play.
“The protect phase progressed to the prepare phase when the Government said players could start training in the nets again.
“The prepare phase is still in place, but ECB have been working on ways to get players playing again.
“There are no definite dates yet, but it is possible that starting in mid-July we could be playing in short-sided games with teams of eight.
“ECB have said keepers won’t be allowed to stand up to the stumps and slips will have to remain two metres apart.
“The only thing they are still working on is what to do about the umpire at the bowler’s end.
“Hopefully, clubs can use these games as pre-season preparation for something more meaningful from early August onwards.
“The league management committee has some ideas about what meaningful cricket can be played and will put them out there in the next few days.”