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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

‘Utter garbage’: English cricket hits back at UK PM Boris Johnson over ‘teas and changing rooms’ comment

The Prime Minister, who had said last month that the cricket ball is a "natural vector of disease", said on Friday that the risk in letting recreational cricket resume is "not so much the ball" but "other factors".

By: Sports Desk | Updated: July 3, 2020 8:32:07 pm
Boris Johnson Former England cricketers and the ECB have criticized PM Boris Johnson’s explanation on why recreational cricket remains banned. (Credit: Twitter/BorisJohnson, AP)

Following UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s explanation that recreational cricket remains banned in the country because of “teas and changing rooms… and other factors that generate proximity”, former England cricketers and the English cricket board have come up with responses in criticism.

Speaking on LBC Radio on Friday, Johnson, who had said last month that the cricket ball is a “natural vector of disease”, said the risk in letting cricket resume is “not so much the ball” but “other factors”.

“There are various other considerations. The longer answer which I think probably [chief medical officer] Chris Whitty would give, if he were here, about cricket – the risk is not so much the ball, although that may be a factor.

“It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said Johnson’s explanation was “utter garbage”. Former cricketer and bowling coach Ian Pont also tweeted his disbelief.

READ | International cricket set to return in July as England confirm West Indies Test tour

“You don’t NEED dressing rooms. You don’t need TEA @BorisJohnson,” he said on Twitter. “Give the recreational game the green light and stop ruining the future of many small clubs and players.”

Simon Prodger – the managing director of the National Cricket Conference, which acts as a voice for the club game in England – said Johnson’s remarks were “palpable nonsense”.

In a statement, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said the risks of exposure to coronavirus were “very low” while playing cricket.

“The ECB believes that cricket is a non-contact sport, with very low risks of exposure, and that it can be played as safely as many other activities being currently permitted,” the governing body said.

“The detailed submission we have shared with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport includes advice on how we can stage cricket safely and mitigate all potential risks.

“We believe this advice – allied with strict hygiene measures – means recreational cricket should be viewed as safe by the UK government, which would be welcome news to our nation’s recreational cricketers.”

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