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England’s Zak Crawley says recreational cricket should not be suspended in England | Cricket News

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Watch the first Test between England and West Indies live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on July 8.

Last Updated: 25/06/20 3:13pm

Zak Crawley says club players should not be sitting around waiting to play for their local teams

Zak Crawley says club players should not be sitting around waiting to play for their local teams

England batsman Zak Crawley says he disagrees with the ongoing suspension of recreational cricket and empathises with the frustration it is causing at grassroots level.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said cricket would continue to be banned at community level and described the ball as “a natural vector of disease” while at the same time announcing that further easing of the coronavirus lockdown measures would take place on July 4.

While the government has cleared the way for Test cricket to return on July 8, when England will begin their Test series against West Indies, no county cricket will be played until August 1 at the earliest.

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But this week, the England and Wales Cricket Board continued talks with Sports Minister Nigel Huddlestone in the hope of securing the return of recreational cricket on or around July 4.

Asked if he supports the ongoing suspension, Crawley said: “I disagree with it at the moment – I feel like we could definitely have some community cricket back on.

“It’s very easy to socially distance on the cricket field; so long as you don’t put saliva on the ball, which obviously we’re not doing at international level. I’m sure they can do that at community level as well.

“I’d definitely like to see community cricket back. I know a lot of people, and have played with a lot of people, who play cricket and they are desperate for it to be back on so I’d definitely support that being brought back.”

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Sky Sports pundit Nasser Hussain says while player welfare should be paramount, the government’s decision to not allow recreational cricket while pubs can open and other sport are free to continue lacks consistency

Sky Sports pundit Nasser Hussain says while player welfare should be paramount, the government’s decision to not allow recreational cricket while pubs can open and other sport are free to continue lacks consistency

In a statement on Tuesday, the ECB said it was “heartened” to see other sports such as tennis and basketball returning and stressed its view that cricket, as a non-contact sport, has “very low risks of exposure” to COVID-19.

Crawley, who has twice tested negative for coronavirus and is now part of England’s training group in the bio-secure environment at The Ageas Bowl, said the mental and physical benefits of playing cricket should not be underestimated.

“I’ve got loads of friends who are desperate to play,” he said. “They’ve obviously been waiting for months now so with other sports starting to go back there is definitely frustration there.

“It gives people working during the week the chance to play some sport at the weekend and have a bit of fun in their life and get a bit of fresh air; there are very good health benefits.

“When cricket isn’t on those people aren’t getting those opportunities as much; it’s definitely good for the community to have all sports on so long as it’s safe and I think cricket is definitely one of those safe sports.”

Crawley, 22, is hopeful of adding to his four Test caps in the upcoming Test series against West Indies but faces competition for a top-order berth from openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley, as well as Kent team-mate Joe Denly should the selectors consider him at three.

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Crawley says he is happy to bat anywhere in the top three for England, and that the competition for places in those three slots will make him a better batsman

Crawley says he is happy to bat anywhere in the top three for England, and that the competition for places in those three slots will make him a better batsman

Earlier this week West Indies head coach Phil Simmons said his pace bowlers would deliberately target the younger players in England’s ranks, which includes the likes of Crawley, Sibley and Ollie Pope.

But Crawley said the comments would only spur him on.

“They’ve got some world-class bowlers but I wouldn’t expect anything different,” he said.

“If they had some young batsmen in their side – we don’t know who is going to play for them – but I’m sure we’ll be going for them as well; it’s just a smart thing to do.

“That said you’d like to think they’d be going for all our batsmen, really. They won’t be taking it easy on Joe Root, I don’t think!

“It doesn’t bother me; they’ve got a very good bowling line-up and I won’t be taking anything for granted, that’s for sure.

“I’ll be up for that battle playing for my country, whoever it’s against or if it’s a warm-up game. As soon as I’ve got an England shirt on, it means a lot to play for England so I’ll absolutely be up for it.”

Watch the first Test between England and West Indies live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Wednesday July 8.





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