Dublin [Ireland], June 8 (ANI): Cricket Ireland on Monday announced that more than 30 elite players have returned to training at three dedicated venues across Ireland.
"More than 30 of Ireland's elite cricketers return to training this week at three dedicated hubs across Ireland, with the senior men's and women's squads undertaking modified training sessions in accordance with Cricket Ireland's COVID-19 Safe Return to Training Protocols," Cricket Ireland said in a statement.
Preparatory cleaning and disinfecting work at the Cricket Ireland High-Performance Centre in Dublin, the cricket facilities at the Civil Service NI Ground in Belfast, and at Bready Cricket Club in the North West, has been undertaken over the weekend to ensure the players and coaches have a safe and clean environment to train.
Richard Holdsworth, High-Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said that the session will feature 1:1 individual work in small group numbers.
"Our elite senior players are obviously delighted to get some form of cricket activity back underway. We are very much taking a safety-first approach to ensure the health of players and coaches, as well as the staff on hand who are supporting the sessions and helping to implement the COVID-19 Safe Return to Training Protocols," Holdsworth said in a statement.
"The most effective and controllable solution was to create three high-performance regional hubs to host the practice and training of our men's and women's performance squads. The sessions will feature 1:1 individual work in small group numbers," he added.
"The approved protocols cover maintenance and cleaning regimes for facilities and sporting equipment, and how players and coaches can train and interact in a cricketing sense while maintaining social distancing," he further said.
Despite the write-off of Ireland's international home programme in 2020, Holdsworth is hopeful that the return to training will put both the men's and women's squads in a good position ahead of possible international action later in the year.
"We are still in discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) regarding playing three ODIs against England in late July. Clearly, the approval of those matches is a matter for the ECB and the UK government. We shall continue to liaise closely with ECB in that regard," he said.
"In terms of getting ready for those matches should the approval come, with a six to eight week period regarded as essential from the standing start of lockdown to being ready for international cricket -- particularly for our bowlers. It was crucial that our players did not lose any more time with the England squad already back to training. In addition, there is also still the outside prospect of the men's T20 World Cup in late 2020 -- so it may still be a big year for the men's squad," Holdsworth added. (ANI)