Coronavirus: ECB announces England players to return to training

Omnisport

England players will be able to undertake individual training sessions from next week ahead of a potential resumption of international cricket in the country.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced skills-based sessions can be carried out at various county grounds while behind closed doors, thereby adhering to distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bowlers will be the first to return, doing so on a staggered basis with a coach, physio and - where possible - a strength and conditioning coach in attendance.

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Both players and staff will have their temperatures checked prior to the training sessions, while dressing rooms and other facilities at the venues being used will be closed.

After a two-week period for the bowlers, batsmen and wicketkeepers will start their individual programmes as the ECB begins working towards playing fixtures during the English season.

"These are the first steps for players return to training ahead of international cricket potentially resuming later this summer," Ashley Giles, managing director of the England team, said.

"The safety of players, staff and our community is our first priority throughout this protocol. We are committed to adhering to public health guidelines and government directives intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"To be clear, we will only train and potentially play cricket behind closed doors if we know it is absolutely safe to do so and is fully supported by the Government.

"We are in constant dialogue with players, coaches and counties to determine what is possible during this period and what facilities will be available to us.

"We are thankful that we have a united front across all of cricket’s stakeholders to prepare the players in a safe and secure environment."

England's Test series with West Indies, originally scheduled for June, was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, while Australia, Pakistan and Ireland are still due to visit this year.

The England women's squad is expected to be able to resume training in late June, while the ECB is continuing to work with the 18 first-class counties to "ascertain when a 'back-to- training' protocol can be rolled out" for the domestic game.

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