Cricket is back: Fist bumps in place of handshakes as gentleman’s game returns

Local cricketers across England got their long-awaited return to the field on Saturday as the coronavirus restrictions were lifted on the grassroots game.

Special social-distancing measures have been put in place, with none of the usual pre-match handshakes and regular breaks for hand and ball sanitising.

Recreational Cricket – Saturday 11th July
A match ball is sanitised ahead of the friendly match between Lyndhurst & Ashurst CC cricket club and Sway cricket club at Boltons Bench, near Lyndhurst (Andrew Matthews/PA)

However, according to the new guidance, communal areas like changing rooms and bars must remain closed, meaning post-match drinks are off-limits – at least in the clubhouse.

Players have also been urged to use their own equipment if possible, and the use of saliva on the ball – usually a tactic used by bowlers to create swing – is forbidden.

Recreational Cricket – Saturday 11th July
Village Cricket at Tilford Cricket Club, Farnham (Adam Davy/PA)

Swimming pools and outdoor arts performances are also returning today, though some theatre groups said they did not have enough notice to put on performances on the day of reopening.

Following the opening for hairdressers last week, beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close contact services will be able to welcome back customers from Monday.

Recreational Cricket – Saturday 11th July
Players in action during an intra club match at Newtown Linford Cricket Club, Leicestershire (Joe Giddens/PA)

The Football Association is currently working on guidance to allow grassroots football to return.

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