In anticipation of playing six biosecure Tests against West Indies and Pakistan in July, England’s bowlers will begin training with coaches in one-on-one sessions under ECB guidelines from today.
It will be first instance, when international cricketers will take to field, even if only to train, since the coronavirus pandemic induced lockdown across the globe in the last week of March.
Last Thursday, ECB director, Ashley Giles announced that ECB plans to prepare a pool of 30 players in a three phased return of elite sport under biosecure conditions. ECB guidelines for resumption of training is the first phase of the three phased plan.
In this article, we explain ECB guidelines for resumption of training.
What are ECB guidelines for resumption of training by English players?
ECB guidelines for the resumption of training by English players are guidelines produced in line with the UK Government guidance on public spaces, outdoor activity, and exercise published on 11 May 2020. They are a combination of One skin per ball policy, social distancing, hygiene, supervision, medical, transportation and biosecure measures to “mitigate as many of the risks as” possible.
What is One skin per ball policy?
The training sessions scheduled to begin today will follow a strict “one skin per ball” policy. The idea behind this policy is to ensure that a set of balls are used by only one player. Each cricketer will be handed a box of balls. The players can only touch balls from their individual box, which must remain in their kit bag when not in use. However, the players have been barred from using saliva or sweat on the balls.
What social distancing guidelines?
During the individual practice phase, which will be performed outdoors, players will have to maintain a two-metre distance from the coach, with only the physio required to don PPE in the event of an injury that needs treatment.
What are hygiene guidelines?
Besides ban on touching other’s balls and use of saliva, coaches have been advised to wear a rubber glove on their spare hand with a mitt on the other.
The players have been told to not touch another individual’s assigned balls. Players have been advised to either kick or hit the ball back to the coach during practice, rather than picking it up and throwing it back.
During fielding drills, guidelines suggest that the player’s balls be used. Coaches are advised to wear gloves, mitts and side arm slingers. All things used as such must be disinfected between sessions.
What are travel guidelines?
The guidelines instructs the players, who must turn up for practice in full kit at one of 11 county grounds, to drive themselves to in their cars and just use a single mode of transportation. They have also been advised to disinfect their car and their equipment periodically.
At the ground they must undergo temperature checks, before working on cricket skills with a coach and under the supervision of a physio.
They have been asked to sanitize their hands regularly and bring their own water bottles which are required to be clearly marked in order to make it distinguishable. The players will not be granted any dressing-room access. Also there will be no shortage of equipment on site for practice.
The players must make a swift departure after the practice and take a shower at home.
What is the three-phased plan for resumption of international cricket?
Individual sessions by English bowlers will be followed by net sessions for batsmen two weeks later. By the end of June, ECB seeks to convene a squad of 25-30 players at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl.
In the second phase the Board seeks to play a intra-squad match before finally playing Test the first Test against West Indies on 8 July.
Moreover, a separate white-ball squad will begin training at a later date for the possible ODIs against Ireland at the end of July.