30th June 2020

Environment ‘England could lose next superstar’ – Wood’s fears for grassroots cricket

Environment ‘England could lose next superstar’ – Wood’s fears for grassroots cricket

Environment

environment Cricket

Cricket is the latest sport to be suspended at grassroots level

Bowler Mark Wood fears “the next Ben Stokes or Joe Root” could be lost to the game if grassroots cricket cannot restart this summer.

Club cricket in England has been banned since March because of coronavirus and is still not permitted despite Tuesday’s easing of lockdown rules.

The England and Wales Cricket Board is in talks with the government and still hopes the sport can resume on 4 July.

Wood said it is “always safety first” but hopes cricket can return soon.

“I’m sure a lot of people in this country would love grassroots cricket to be back up and running,” he told BBC Sport.

“We don’t want to lose the next Ben Stokes, the next Joe Root, the next superstar that might be coming through for the game.

“If you can go to the pub, and go to restaurants – you’d hope that cricket could be on the horizon as well.”

Unlike other outdoor ball sports such as tennis or basketball, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday grassroots cricket could not return because the ball is a “natural vector of disease”.

Meanwhile, England’s players have gathered in Southampton for a behind-closed-doors training camp in preparation for their Test series against West Indies which will go ahead from 8 July in a bio-secure environment.

The ECB has confirmed players, support staff, match officials and staff at the two Test venues – Manchester and Southampton – have tested negative for coronavirus.

Wood arrived in Southampton on Monday and he and the rest of England’s players will remain at the hotel on site at the Aegas Bowl while they prepare for the first Test.

“It felt a bit surreal when we arrived, “Wood said. “Everything was like a sci-fi movie – people with masks on and PPE.

“We had to be checked through a temperature tent and then we came in.

“The ECB have done a brilliant job. The exciting bit is that cricket can start again. The West Indies are starting to play (an inter-squad match at Old Trafford), this could really happen now.”

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