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England's individual-based training will be safer than shopping – Ashley Giles
England News

England's individual-based training will be safer than shopping – Ashley Giles

England director of cricket Ashley Giles believes the country's leading cricketers engaging in an individual-based training programme would pose a lesser risk than going to a supermarket.

The ECB has been drafting plans to allow players to prepare themselves for the Test assignments against the visiting West Indies and Pakistan this summer.

Giles added that while there was a realistic chance of staging matches behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was a bit impractical to expect players to spend 10 weeks in isolation for the forthcoming series

Professional cricket in England and Wales has been delayed to July 1, following which the ECB intends to conduct games in bio-secure environments in accordance with the British government guidelines.

The ECB is currently selecting an expanded squad of 30 players, who will be expected to train at seven grounds from Wednesday next week.

Bowlers will be initially prioritised for the first two-week period, followed by batsmen and wicketkeepers commencing their respective programmes at 11 venues across the country.

Also Read: England players prepared for prolonged isolation for resumption of cricket

This step-by-step approach to training will be held in the presence of a coach and physio donning protective gear prescribed in the safety precautions.

"This is individual-based training so in many ways we should be able to get control of the environment right so it's safer to go back to practice than it is to go to the supermarket," Giles told reporters on Thursday.

Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave recently voiced optimism over the fate of the Caribbean side's tour of England but warned that some players would be reluctant to make the trip.

Taking note of these fears, Giles confirmed the board was willing to alleviate the concerns of CWI and the PCB.

"I would be nervous, certainly. But we are doing everything we possibly can to answer all of the West Indies' questions.

"We will be speaking to Pakistan as well and mitigating as much risk as we possibly can."

Giles also touched upon the debate regarding the proposed ban on shining the ball with saliva or sweat. He felt it would be hard to put into effect without offending the bowlers.

"How are we going to stop Jimmy Anderson walking back to his mark touching his forehead for example and then the ball? It's going to be tricky to break those habits."

Giles stressed it would be mentally exhausting for players to spend an extended period of time away from family, especially for skipper Joe Root, who is expecting his second child soon.

"We have a good bunch of players, but it isn't realistic to expect them to be in a bubble for 10 weeks."

"Testing, tracing and tracking will have changed a hell of a lot by then and that should help us. Otherwise, we are going to have to be smart with selection."

The former England spinner admitted financial losses for the ECB could swell in the future if the nation's cricket season was wiped out.

"We are a business like everyone else," said Giles.

"Businesses across the world are suffering right now and we have got to try and do our bit to protect the business."

He added global cooperation was the key to coming up with strategies to deal with the postponed series and the problem of adjusting them in the international calendar.

"We are worried about getting our own deals done. It's the same in Australia and India and everywhere else around the world.

"But in the future, it will be important we work together and there is a united front because we are not going to play without sides giving a bit to each other."