England’s cricketers will be handed a box of balls each only for their individual use and they can’t apply saliva on them when they resume training next week ahead of the scheduled Test series against West Indies and Pakistan.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which has suspended all its activities until July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced on Thursday that a pool of 30 cricketers will be prepared for the planned start of international cricket this summer.
The training will be held as per the government-approved guidelines.
“We should be able to get control of the environment so it’s safer to go back to practise than it is to go to the supermarket. I’m not making light of this but there are risks every time you go outside the house,” Ashley Giles, ECB director of cricket, was quoted as saying by ‘The Guardian.
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.
“We need to mitigate as many of the risks as we possibly can. At one venue guys may train individually but with the same coach a single coach for four or five bowlers.
“But with social distancing, they shouldn’t be close enough to pass anything on. It’s essential we stick to these guidelines,” said Giles.
The Guardian reported that 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 weeks 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,” the newspaper stated.
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.
“We hope we don’t take another dip, which would put all of us back. (But) If we continue on this trajectory hopefully we will have the right conditions to play some Test cricket,” Giles said.