The England & Wales Cricket Board is encouraging counties and leagues to begin planning for when the Government gives the go-ahead for a return to competition.

Cricket's governing body is encouraging competition organisers across the country to begin considering how they will respond when the ECB moves to step four of its five-step roadmap.

The ECB published its roadmap for the return of recreational cricket last week, with step four seeing the return of cricket with adapted game play, while step five would permit the return of cricket without restrictions, although the ECB has already said step five is unlikely this summer.

We are currently in step three of this plan, with a move to step four, where adapted game play is possible, being subject to Government approval.

Adapted game play would see modifications made to the game to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all involved.

The Cornwall Cricket League was due to have begun on April 18, with this coming weekend due to have marked the halfway stage of the 2020 season.

The ECB is hoping that recreational cricket may be permitted to return soon following Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden's pledge during Wednesday's daily Government briefing to get grassroots sport back up and running "in July at the very earliest".

Mr Dowden said: "I know countless people are itching to get back to their gyms and leisure centres, to their five-a-side leagues and all their other normal fitness activities.

"We’re working closely with the sector to get grassroots and community sport back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so, with an aim of the start of July at the very earliest."

The ECB is optimistic that cricket, which is currently restricted to small groups of no more than six people with social distancing to be practised at all times as per Government guidance, can be played while respecting social distancing.

In a statement, the ECB said: "As cricket is a non-contact sport that involves individual disciplines within a team environment, the ECB are optimistic that forms of the game can be played while respecting social distancing."

It added: "It is ECB’s ambition to deliver guidelines for a return to play as soon as possible after the Government gives permission to proceed, but please note that given the importance of ensuring cricket clubs and individuals are as safe as can be, this may take a few days from any Government announcement.

"In preparation for further ECB announcements, Competition organisers across Counties and Leagues are encouraged to begin considering how they will respond when the ECB advises that we are able to move into Step 4 and whether local competitions are feasible."

In preparation, the Cornwall Cricket League are surveying all clubs over the next week to see what their thoughts are regarding adapted cricket and how it might take place.