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

With the grassroots game restricted for longer than some other sports, it was a big day for cricket players around the country.

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Players fist bump as they celebrate a wicket in the match between Lyndhurst and Ashurst CC cricket club and Sway cricket club at Boltons Bench, near Lyndhurst. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Players fist bump as they celebrate a wicket in the match between Lyndhurst and Ashurst CC cricket club and Sway cricket club at Boltons Bench, near Lyndhurst. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Players fist bump as they celebrate a wicket in the match between Lyndhurst and Ashurst CC cricket club and Sway cricket club at Boltons Bench, near Lyndhurst. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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.

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A match ball is sanitised ahead of the friendly match between Lyndhurst and Ashurst CC cricket club and Sway cricket club at Boltons Bench, near Lyndhurst (Andrew Matthews/PA)

A match ball is sanitised ahead of the friendly match between Lyndhurst and Ashurst CC cricket club and Sway cricket club at Boltons Bench, near Lyndhurst (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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A match ball is sanitised ahead of the friendly match between Lyndhurst and 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.

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A pony walks across the pitch as Lyndhurst and Ashurst CC cricket club take on Sway cricket club in a friendly match at Boltons Bench, near Lyndhurst. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

A pony walks across the pitch as Lyndhurst and Ashurst CC cricket club take on Sway cricket club in a friendly match at Boltons Bench, near Lyndhurst. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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A pony walks across the pitch as Lyndhurst and Ashurst CC cricket club take on Sway cricket club in a friendly match at Boltons Bench, near Lyndhurst. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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.

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Village Cricket at Tilford Cricket Club, Farnham (Adam Davy/PA)

Village Cricket at Tilford Cricket Club, Farnham (Adam Davy/PA)

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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.

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Players pause to use hand sanitiser during the match between Pershore CC and Stratford-upon-Avon CC at the The Bottoms, home of Pershore Cricket Club, Worcestershire. (Jacob King/PA)

Players pause to use hand sanitiser during the match between Pershore CC and Stratford-upon-Avon CC at the The Bottoms, home of Pershore Cricket Club, Worcestershire. (Jacob King/PA)

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Players pause to use hand sanitiser during the match between Pershore CC and Stratford-upon-Avon CC at the The Bottoms, home of Pershore Cricket Club, Worcestershire. (Jacob King/PA)

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.

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Players in action during an intra club match at Newtown Linford Cricket Club, Leicestershire (Joe Giddens/PA)

Players in action during an intra club match at Newtown Linford Cricket Club, Leicestershire (Joe Giddens/PA)

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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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