COVID-19: Safety protocol complications delay England bowlers’ return to training

England bowlers’ much-anticipated resumption of training amid the COVID-19 pandemic were delayed by a day due to “complications” in ensuring safety protocols.

File picture of Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy during a training session at the Lord's.   -  Reuters Photo

England bowlers’ much-anticipated resumption of training amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been delayed after the first session was postponed due to “complications” in ensuring safety protocols.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which suspended all its competitive action till July due to the pandemic, had announced last week that a pool of 30 cricketers will be prepared for the planned start of international cricket this summer.

However, according to ESPNCricinfo, “issues in establishing uniform practices that minimise the chances of infection have proved slightly harder to implement than envisaged.”

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The likes of star pacers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and all-rounder Ben Stokes were due to resume training at their respective local county grounds on Wednesday.

The ECB has now announced that up to 18 bowlers will be involved in training from Thursday.

Edgbaston, Hove, Old Trafford, the Oval, the Riverside, Taunton and Trent Bridge will stage at least one session, before batsmen and wicketkeepers become involved from June 1.

The bowlers’ identities have yet to be made public but the choice of venues indicates that James Anderson (Old Trafford) and Stuart Broad (Trent Bridge) will be among the leading England bowlers training at their home county grounds.

 Bowlers will have to bring their own kit, including designated cricket balls, wash their hands regularly, and clean any equipment used with disinfectant wipes.

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England managing director Ashley Giles said last week he wanted the training sessions to be safer than a trip to a supermarket.

The players are required to 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.

 As well as the West Indies Test series, England’s cricket schedule includes three Tests against Pakistan and limited-overs matches against Australia and Ireland, with the fixtures set to be played behind closed doors at bio-secure venues.

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