ICC recommends multi-phased approach to training

In its ‘Back to Cricket’ guidelines, the ICC has stated that the progression to the next stage should not begin until it is deemed safe to do so and there is no evidence that the local COVID-19 transmission rate has risen as a result of this training activity.

ICC may allow squad training with more than 10 players in the fourth stage of phased resumption.   -  R.V. Moorthy

As the cricket boards gear up for resumption of cricket, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has recommended that the training should be multi-phased. In its ‘Back to Cricket’ guidelines, issued on Friday, the ICC stated that the progression to the next stage should not begin until it is deemed safe to do so and there is no evidence that the local COVID-19 transmission rate has risen as a result of this training activity.

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Stage I

As per its recommendation, individual training should begin once players are able to exercise on their own and may be able to resume basic cricket activities. This stage maintains engagement in the sport and may be assisted by online coaching resources, social media, and other virtual aides.

But it also has certain protocols. “Activities should involve no contact with, or participation alongside, any other individual or partner. Activities may include cardiovascular exercise or strength and conditioning training to keep in good general health and fitness.”

Use of equipment such as cones and stumps should be limited but participants may use essential cricket equipment (i.e. bat, ball) for activities such as shadow batting, bowling and catching.

For this, there are also hygiene measures in place, which include: good general hygiene (washing/sanitising your hands before and after activity). Sanitising any personal equipment used. Observing social distancing rules at all times in public spaces, limiting the use of external equipment. It also advises the players to not train if they feel unwell, and also there should be minimal use of communal facilities.

Stage II

Before training in small groups of two or three players, the Boards must ensure that the players maintain the national government restrictions. This stage may also include supervised cricketing activity from a coach or responsible adult.

Basic batting, bowling and fielding exercises should be carried out such that they minimise interaction between participants. This may include some fielding exercises or net practice. Participants should have their own equipment, including a bat and ball. “Where this is not possible, all shared equipment should be limited and should be sanitised between different participants’ usage,” the guideline stated.

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The recommended safety guidelines include: no sharing of exercise equipment, no direct physical contact between participants (handshakes, hugs, ‘high fives’, other touch), no sharing of any non-cricket equipment (e.g. water-bottles,gloves, pads).

Stage III

Training in groups with no more than 10 players should be considered when national government regulations allow individuals to participate in sporting activity in groups whilst maintaining social distancing rules.

This stage may also include supervised cricketing activity from a coach or responsible adult. These activities should be non-contact skills training whilst observing social distancing measures and, where possible, should still limit the number of individuals that participants come into contact with (e.g. a training session with two distinct groups of four players).

Participants should use their own equipment where possible. Where this is not possible, participants should be provided with their own specific club equipment (e.g. use only a ball assigned to you for the session). “All participants should adopt a ‘ready to train’ approach i.e. come to training prepared without the need to use any communal facilities such as changing rooms or showering facilities.”

In terms of recommended hygiene measures, there should be clear demarcation of team cricket equipment (e.g. numbered balls) and thorough disinfecting of all team cricket equipment after a session.

Stage-IV

While this is for a group of more than 10 players, government guidelines need to be followed. Social distancing measures should allow participants to come to within 1.5m of each other.

These activities should still limit the number of individuals that participants come into contact with but may allow wider squad training and should allow the use of shared equipment, in particular a cricket ball.

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Physical contact between participants will be allowed though this should still be limited where possible. For training situations, teams should still consider maintaining some small group separation. All participants should still consider a ‘ready to train’ approach and a full use of communal facilities will be permitted during this stage.

If any massage beds are used, hygiene practices to include (i) no bed linen except single use of towels and (ii) cleaning of treatment beds and key surfaces after every usage.

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