The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday (14th May) confirmed that the men’s team will resume training from next week in preparation for the Test matches against West Indies. In the initial stages, the training will be individual skills-based. The players will train under strict protocols amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement comes after the official government’s advice which laid out the safety protocols and social distancing measures to safeguard the players and staff during the Covid-19 virus outbreak. A pool of 30 cricketers will be selected keeping the probable Test squad against West Indies in mind. They will start to assemble at seven venues spread across the country. The venues are yet to be announced.
“We are going to be asking approximately 30 players to go back to training. We will need a larger group of players given we are planning for the strictest conditions, behind closed doors, to cover all aspects, whether that be injury, net bowlers, practice matches. The white-ball focused players will follow,” Ashley Giles, director of men’s cricket, revealed.
The resumption of training is aimed at avoiding the potential of injury concern for English players, who have not taken the field since the cancellation of the Sri Lanka series (12th March). With approximately seven weeks to go until the delayed Test series against West Indies, the primary focus will be on the bowlers to regain their fitness with batsmen and wicketkeepers to follow.
We have confirmed that our players will return to individual training from next week.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) May 14, 2020
To reduce the risk of infection during this training period, strict social-distancing and hygiene protocols will be followed. All participants will be screened before they are allowed to undergo training sessions. Public areas such as dressing rooms and venue facilities will be closed, and the players and support staff are to arrive at the venues in their training gear.