India’s cricketers are itching to go back to the field after the coronavirus pandemic brought most sport to a standstill. The cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) was among sport events to be either deferred or cancelled for the pandemic.
The government eased on Saturday a lockdown to contain the coronavirus and allowed sportspersons to use stadiums, leading to media reports that the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) will come up with guidelines for training by the end of June.
“We will shift players to one place when 100 per cent confident. For training, NCA has been discussed. We may look for other options as well, we need to keep in mind the state restrictions on travel and monsoon before taking a decision,” news agency ANI quoted an unnamed source at BCCI as saying.
“We should be able to pull something off towards the end of June. Cricketers are waiting to get back on the field. It has been a really long time since sports stopped but as of now we are figuring out a concrete plan to resume,” the source added.
Why ICC made training mandatory for resumption of cricket?
The International Cricket Council (ICC) issued on May 19 guidelines that highlighted the importance of training before resuming cricket operations, pointing out fast bowlers. The apex body has issued specific guidelines considering fast bowlers’ workload and the risk they run of getting injured.
The ICC also suggested format-specific training periods for bowlers all over the world, allowing them a minimum of 5-6 weeks of training, with the last three weeks involving bowling at match intensity in order to facilitate their return to T20Is.
The minimum preparation period for ODIs has been set at six weeks while for Tests, it recommended a preparation time of up to 2-3 months with the last 4-5 weeks involving bowling at full throttle.
India next scheduled series
India is scheduled to tour Sri Lanka in August for limited-over series and according to ICC guidelines, the minimum preparation window would be six weeks (42 days). So, Indian cricket team needs to start its training by the end of June or early July to fulfil the ICC rules.
Other Cricketing nations that resumed training:
England cricket team
On May 20, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was the first to allow its players to resume for individual skills-based training with strict guidelines, which is as follows:
A “one skin per ball” policy will be implemented for the sessions at 11 county grounds where players will train at different times to ensure social distancing.
The players have to use only the individual box of balls assigned to them and the balls must remain in their kit bags when not in use.
Bowlers will be having one-on-one sessions with coaches from Wednesday and the batsmen will enter the nets two week later.
Players have been told to travel by car, bring their own clearly marked water bottles, regularly sanitise hands and make a swift departure afterwards before showering at home.
They will also undergo temperature checks before hitting the nets under the supervision of a coach and physio.
A two-metre distance has to be maintained with the coach and the physio will be the only one wearing a PPE kit.
When the batsmen resume net sessions, they must not pick the ball up and pass it back to the coach, instead they will kick it or use the bat to hit it back.
As England is looking to resume the professional cricket from August, on May 25, ECB has named a group of 55 men’s players who have been asked to return to training. They will prepare for the prospect of behind-closed-doors cricket, subject to government clearance.
The 55 England players are: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Dom Bess, Sam Billings, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Henry Brookes, Pat Brown, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Brydon Carse, Mason Crane, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Joe Denly, Ben Duckett, Laurie Evans, Ben Foakes, Richard Gleeson, Lewis Gregory, Sam Hain, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Chris Jordan, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matt Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Adil Rashid, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, James Vince, Amar Virdi, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.
Australia cricket team
Top Australian cricketers resumed training on Monday (June 1) at the Sydney Olympic Park. After returning to practice batting mainstay Steve Smith said that he is in his best shape in years after putting the bat aside for two months to focus on physical and mental fitness.
David Warner and Mitchell Starc were among those who reported for training as the domestic pre-season began behind closed doors. Australia is one of the less-affected countries from the coronavirus with little over 7000 cases reported so far.
Sri Lanka cricket team
A group of 13 Sri Lankan cricketers, comprising mainly bowlers, resumed training on Monday following the coronavirus hiatus.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement that a “selected squad of 13 members will undergo a 12-day ‘Residential Training Camp’ at the Colombo Cricket Club”.
The coaching and support staff overseeing the training of the players will consist of a four-member unit.
All the players will strictly adhere to the health regulations imposed by the government in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to SLC guidelines, the players taking part in the camp, will not be allowed to leave the hotel premises or the practice venue to attend personal matters during the training period.