England's Zak Crawley says club cricket should return

Zak Crawley
Zak Crawley averages 27.33 in four Tests for England

The government should lift the restrictions that are preventing recreational cricket from being played, says England batsman Zak Crawley.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that cricket balls are a "natural vector" of coronavirus.

There has been no club cricket this summer, but England begin their Test series against West Indies on 8 July.

"I'd like to see that decision reversed to get community cricket back on," said 22-year-old Crawley.

"The England players are well aware of it - we have friends who want to play. I feel like it's time to bring it back."

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Tuesday it was hopeful club cricket could return on or around 4 July, and some leagues have begun planning competitions for the second half of the summer.

Since the prime minister's comments, the ECB has held talks with sports minister Nigel Huddlestone.

"You can social distance easily in cricket," said Crawley. "You can't put saliva on the ball at international level, and you could easily do that at community level."

Crawley is part of the 30-man training group in Southampton that is preparing for three Tests against West Indies, with training getting under way on Thursday,

All England's players and staff have tested negative for coronavirus - among 702 tests carried out between 3 and 23 June - while pace bowler Jofra Archer was cleared to join the group on Thursday after a member of his household felt unwell over the weekend.

Crawley is competing with Rory Burns, Dom Sibley and Joe Denly for one of the top three spots in the batting order.

He replaced the injured Burns to open with Sibley in the series win in South Africa earlier this year, but, now Burns is fit, Crawley could vie with Kent colleague Denly for the number three berth.

The top order is one of a number of areas of competition during the training camp and internal three-day match that begins on 1 July, with wicketkeeping, spin-bowling and fast-bowling spots arguably all up for grabs.

"It's great to see," said Crawley, who has played four Tests. "I remember the Australia team of the early 2000s - some really good players didn't get in that side and that is why they were so strong.

"They had such good training environments, where everyone is always trying to improve and it feels like we have something similar at the moment. We've got strength in depth and that's what pushes you harder."

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