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Boris Johnson in cricket u-turn as he says sport can resume next weekend after ‘third umpire was invoked’

Boris Johnson said cricket can now return from next weekend (PA)

2 min read

Boris Johnson has reversed his decision on cricket saying people can start playing the sport again from next weekend.

The Prime Minister said he has sought scientific and medical advice after he had previously said his favourite pastime could not return yet as the ball is a "natural vector of disease".

He was quizzed about the comments on LBC this morning as other ball sports like tennis have been able to start up again as the coronavirus lockdown is eased.

The PM said the risk is "not so much the ball”, adding: "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."

But former England captain Michael Vaughan branded Mr Johnson's explanation "utter garbage”.

Returning to the subject at the Downing Street press briefing, Mr Johnson said: “On your question about cricket, I just want to be clear that, having been stumped on the radio this morning... I sought scientific advice, and medical opinions, and the third umpire has been invoked.

“And what I can say is that we do want to work as fast as possible to get cricket back, and we will be publishing guidelines in the next few days, so that cricket can resume in time for next weekend.”

The chief medical officer Chris Whitty added: “One of the issues with cricket is it brings together a much larger number of people in terms of linking households, than you do with the six people that is laid out as the maximum number of people who should be meeting even outdoors close now.

“But it is perfectly possible to have cricket where people do keep their distance.

“And provided people don't do things that are clearly not sensible, ranging from hugging the bowler if they've just bowled someone for a duck, through to spitting on the ball, it should be possible to make the game itself really very safe as an an outdoor sport at a distance.”

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