THE England and Wales Cricket Board is optimistic that recreational cricket can return next month, despite Boris Johnson calling the cricket ball a "vector of disease".

Shortly after announcing that pubs, restaurants and hairdressers would be able to reopen from July 4, the prime minister was asked in the House of Commons on Tuesday about the potential of club cricket also returning.

But Mr Johnson replied: “The problem with cricket as everybody understands, is that the ball is a natural vector of disease, potentially, at any rate and we’ve been round it many times with our scientific friends.

“At the moment we’re still working on ways to make cricket more Covid-secure, but we can’t change the guidance yet.”

Despite the prime minister's words, the ECB is still optimistic that a return for the recreational game can be achieved sooner rather than later, insisting in a statement on Tuesday evening that a return "on or around July 4" is still possible.

The statement read: "We believe 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. It is our strong desire to work with Government to see the return of recreational cricket on or around 4th July, as they continue to lift other restrictions more broadly across society.

"We are heartened that the Government has already permitted the return of other ball sports, including tennis and basketball, and we are sure that our interpretation of the risks around ball transmission is consistent with these other games.

"We can confirm that any guidance we share with the game will include directions on how to mitigate any risk from handling the ball as we continue to prioritise the health and safety of the cricket family in all our decision-making."

Last week the ECB encouraged competition organisers across the country to begin considering how they will respond when the ECB moves to step four of its five-step roadmap for the return of recreational cricket.

READ MORE: ECB encourages leagues to begin preparing for return to competition

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.

The 2020 Cornwall Cricket League season was due to begin on April 18, while this weekend would have marked the halfway point in the season.

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.