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Photo courtesy: ECB

England fast bowlers resume individualised training across seven venues

As many as 18 English bowlers have returned to individualised pre-season training from Thursday [May 21] across seven venues in the United Kingdom. The original plan was to commence the training earlier this week but the complicated process of securing all venues from any sort of COVID-19 infection in line with government guidelines, took longer than expected.

Nevertheless, after ensuring the safety of the players and support staffs, the first batch bowlers begun their sessions at the County Ground in Taunton, Edgbaston, Old Trafford, Riverside, Oval, Trent Bridge and The 1st Central County Ground in Hove. Each of this week’s sessions will be monitored by a physio before coaches from both the ECB and selected counties join from next week. Batsmen and wicketkeepers will return to training from June 1 and it is expected that additional venues will be used from that time.

“This has all been planned in the last few weeks, so it’s as safe as possible,” Chris Woakes told Cricbuzz while describing his experience of this unique training session at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground.

“We don’t come into contact with anyone. I took everything I needed for training with me: bottles. towels, medicine balls, bands that I use for warming up. I was given a box of balls, ready there for me to use once I got into the ground. And then those balls are now mine. No one else will touch them – the whole thing of having one skin on each ball.

“On arrival there’s a station where you can wash hands and put anti-bacterial wash on before you start. There was a physio from Warwickshire there with me but again we don’t come into contact. We stay well more than 2 metres apart. I did my training, took about an hour, and then I walked back through the Hollies to my car and left,” he added further.

To conduct a contact-less session a number of measures like temperature testing of players before and after the training and two metre social distancing with support staffs etc. have been put in place by the ECB.

Furthermore, players need to turn up at the sessions in their kit ready to train with their own batch of cricket balls. Bowlers will bowl into an empty net and pick up their own ball. When they bowl into a catching mitt during centre wicket practice, the coach will wear their own mitt and a disposable glove on the other hand to throw the ball back with.

“The bowlers will not be able to use sweat or saliva on the ball and each individual involved in the sessions will be required to wash their hands regularly and clean their equipment with disinfectant wipes. This includes mobile phones and any kit the coaches may use.

The ECB have been keen to point out that those chosen to begin training do not form part of a formal England squad. Instead, it is a group of players who have been invited to resume training with a view to preparing for a possible return to international action against West Indies in early July. The names of those invited to train will be confirmed next week,”another story on Cricbuzz earlier reported.

About Sandipan Banerjee

Sandipan Banerjee is a senior cricket journalist with experience stretching across more than a decade. Having founded a number of cricket information resources and prior experience of working in big-ticket events like ICC Cricket World Cup, IPL and ICC Champions’ Trophy; he joined the team at in 2019 to provide strategic guidance and to assume a brand ambassador role as principal correspondent. Due to Sandipan’s commitment towards the game, it’s safe to assume that if India are involved in a Test, ODI or a T20I, he’ll be there covering the match!

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