The England and Wales Cricket Board has provided each of its contracted internationals with a personalised training plan and a home delivery of fitness equipment in a bid to combat their open-ended break from action.
Had the coronavirus pandemic not struck, the England men’s team would currently be in Sri Lanka preparing for the second of two Test matches in the energy-sapping heat of Colombo, while the remainder of the professional game would be eyeing the imminent start of the domestic season.
That has now been delayed until at least May 28, leaving a long gap to be filled and a conundrum for Rob Ahmun, lead coach of strength and conditioning at the ECB.
Ahmun has overseen the detailed production of individual regimes, backed up by a package of apparatus including TRX ropes, resistance bands, medicine balls and kettle bell weights.
Sheffield-based Test captain Joe Root said: “While it has been good to get some downtime after our return from Sri Lanka, keeping my fitness up is really important so I can be at the top of my game when we get back on the field.
“I’m an active person anyway, with my young son keeping me busy, but having a structured plan will help me improve in certain areas.
“We’d obviously much rather be playing cricket right now, but this gives us an opportunity to recover from a demanding past 12 months and get our bodies in good shape for when matches resume.”
Root’s counterpart with the England Women side echoed those sentiments and has also enjoyed some group work with her team-mates via a video-calling app.
“As cricketers I think we’re pretty used to keeping fit remotely but this is a new challenge – we’ll all just be doing what we can to maintain our levels and hopefully be as ready as we can when we get back playing, whenever that comes,” she said.
“We’ve got programmes to follow and we’ve been doing a bit together on Houseparty.
“I said to the girls that I’ll be available between 6-7 to do the sessions together or just to have a chat. We’re used to training together so it’s nice to do that digitally if we can.”
The Lancastrian was fresh off some standout displays in the 2003 World Cup.
Hales lost his place in last year’s World Cup-winning squad after news of a second failed test for recreational drugs.
The Warwickshire all-rounder is one on 18 bowlers to be selected for personalised practice.
The West Indies are due to arrive on these shores first this summer.
Broad took part in an individual training session at Trent Bridge.
Clare Connor suggested England are considering hosting a Women’s Tri-Series also involving India and South Africa.
The designated bowlers, whose identitites have not been confirmed, will have their temperatures checked.
The ECB had planned to introduce 40 professional contracts this summer across eight regional hubs.
County are waiting on a decision.