The chief medical officer for England outlines the new normal for cricket

Recreational cricket is set to resume in England from Saturday, 11 July, says Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson had previously said on Friday that it was not yet safe to play the game at grassroots level because of issues with “teas and dressing rooms”.

However, in a later briefing, he said the government would publish guidelines to help clubs and players prepare for the sport’s return.

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said it was “very safe” to resume playing.

England’s men will play West Indies in a three-Test series in a bio-secure environment from 8 July.

Whitty said it should be possible to make the game “safe at a distance”, adding that players should not hug one another or apply saliva to a ball.

The use of saliva will not be allowed during England’s Test series and during warm-up matches players have celebrated by bumping elbows.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it was “delighted” at the government’s decision.

“We believe we have a role to play in getting people active across the country, especially young people,” chief executive Tom Harrison said.

“It is heartening to know that club cricket – albeit with social distancing in place and some other adaptations – will soon be back across England.”

Johnson had been criticised by a number of players – both at domestic and grassroots level – for not allowing recreational cricket to resume.

The head of Badminton England criticised Johnson for allowing cricket to return, but not badminton.

“Why can a badminton club not play in a local community centre? If we all follow the same rules, what’s the problem?” Adrian Christy tweeted.