London, Jun 1 (PTI) The ECB has welcomed the UK government's decision to allow the resumption professional sports behind closed doors which allows the board to go ahead with its plan of hosting international cricket starting next month.

In the latest health and safety guidelines designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden on Saturday gave the green light for live competitive sport to return behind closed doors in safe and carefully controlled environments from June 1.

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"We are extremely heartened by Saturday's announcement from the Secretary of State, which will support the return of professional, domestic cricket behind closed doors, and provides a meaningful next step for recreational players to begin playing at their clubs again," England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement.

The board added that it will study the guidelines laid down by the government to safely resume the game.

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"Over the coming week, we will seek to understand the specific guidance from Government's medical teams so that we can provide support for cricket clubs who will be eager to see their communities safely playing in small groups."

"We extend our thanks to all those in Government who have worked hard to support the return of sport and we look forward to seeing players from across the game start returning to the field," it added.

Despite the pandemic delaying the start of their home season, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) plans to stage a full international programme that includes three-Test series against West Indies, scheduled to start on July 8, and Pakistan as well as limited-overs internationals against Australia and Ireland at 'bio-secure' venues.

Last week, the ECB named 55 players who have been asked to resume outdoor training to prepare for cricket behind close doors.

However, the board pushed back the start of the domestic cricket season to August 1.

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