Dynamos Cricket, the new initiative aimed at 8 to 11-year-olds, has been cancelled for the 2020 season, along with a range of national club and age-group competitions, in the latest range of ECB measures to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.
However, in a statement, the board insisted it was continuing to press for the resumption of recreational cricket on or around July 4, in spite of the intervention of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who earlier this week suggested that the sport was unsafe during the pandemic due to the cricket ball being a "natural vector of disease".
"Along with the nation's cricket players we are keen to see the imminent and safe return of our sport at recreational level and have been working hard with Government to achieve this," said the ECB, following their latest talks with the UK Government and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
"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 4 July, as they continue to lift other restrictions more broadly across society."
However, given the logistical issues of a condensed season, as well as the financial implications of the extended lockdown, the ECB confirmed that it would be prioritising local playing opportunities over national competitions, "to ensure maximum flexibility for all clubs pursuing a return to action and because we believe it is safer for clubs and players to reduce their amount of travel".
Dynamos Cricket, which is a follow-up to the successful All Stars programme that was launched in 2017 to introduce cricket to 5 to 8-year-olds, had been due to be rolled out through the ECB's network of cricket clubs from May onwards, but will now be postponed until 2021.
The competitions that have been cancelled for the 2020 season include:
National Counties Championship (Three-day cricket)
National County Showcase Fixtures v First-Class Counties
Royal London Club Championship
Vitality Men's Club T20 Cup and Plate
Vitality Women's Club T20 Cup and Plate
U18 Boys County Championship
U17 Super Fours
Royal London Boys County Age Group Under 14, 15 and 18 Cup Competitions
Royal London Girls County Age Group Under 15 and 17 Cup Competitions
ECB David English Bunbury Festival
ECB City Cup
ECB Over 50s County Championship
ECB Girls Regional Development Centre Festival
ECB Girls U15 Festivals
"While it is regrettable to have to cancel these competitions, the decision has been taken with public health as a priority and additionally to ensure that clubs are as free as possible to play as much cricket as they can in their local area," the ECB added.
"Many of these tournaments would require rescheduling, which logistically could make it difficult for clubs to arrange other cricket, and the health and safety of everyone involved in the game has been our priority throughout this period."