The England & Wales Cricket Board has published a five-step roadmap for the return of recreational cricket this summer.

The sport's governing body has laid out a path that would see the return of competitive cricket with adapted gameplay to account for social distancing.

We are currently in step three of the ECB's roadmap, which takes into account the permission of small training for groups of up to six people. This has been in force since June 1 when lockdown rules were relaxed in England.

Step four will see the return of competitive recreational cricket but with adapted gameplay, with matches adjusted to remain socially distanced.

This would see certain gameplay adaptations for both adult and junior cricket, although these adaptations have not been specified, while shorter match formats would be favoured in order to fit in more matches.

The use of outdoor facilities would be permitted in this step, while indoor facility usage and hospitality will be in line with the government guidelines at the time.

A move to step four will be dictated by UK Government guidance and when it is medically safe to do so. The ECB has said that is "not aware of a committed date to revise" the Government's current guidance on sport.

Step five would see all formats, leagues and competitions being available to play and full use of facilities being permitted.

However, social distancing measures would have to be removed in order to move to this step, which the ECB said would be "hard to see us getting to this stage this summer".

Step one of the roadmap was the initial lockdown phase from March 23 to May 13 when only at-home training and basic use of cricket grounds were permitted, while step two was the original allowance of individual training and one-to-one coaching, which was in place between May 13 and June 1. Use of outdoor facilities has also been permitted since this stage.

In response to a question on their FAQs section of the guidance about whether club cricket would be played this summer, the ECB wrote: "We have an absolute ambition to get cricket played as soon as it is safe to do so.

"Although social distancing is likely to be in place for the foreseeable future, cricket is a non-contact team sport with individual disciplines, as such, we are optimistic about getting cricket played this summer.

"The safety and wellbeing of the cricket family is our number one priority and that is why we are being led by government and medical advice at every point.

"Therefore, we will move to step four when it is safe to do so and supported by government and medical experts."

The ECB's five steps to the return of recreational cricket:

  • Step one: Lockdown (March 23 - May 13) - At-home training and basic use of cricket grounds but not faclities e.g. nets.
  • Step two: Household activity (May 13 - June 1) - Use of outdoor facilities (e.g nets, outfield, wicket) for individuals, households or pairs of adults - all socially distanced.
  • Step three: Small group training (June 1 onwards) - Use of outdoor facilities (e.g nets, outfield, wicket) for groups of up to six individuals regardless of household - all socially distanced.
  • Step four: Adapted gameplay (Date TBC) - Cricket matches adjusted to remain socially distanced. Shorter formats to allow more matches to take place. Outdoor facility usage permitted, with indoor facility usage permitted in line with government guidelines.
  • Step five: Unrestricted (Date TBC) - All formats, leagues and competitions available with full facility usage. Would involve the removal of social distancing guidelines.