ECB men’s managing director Ashley Giles says there is “no real excuse” for England players to have a lapse in their fitness during lockdown.
No professional cricket is to be played in England and Wales before at least May 28 due to the coronavirus crisis, with England’s Test series against West Indies, currently set to begin on June 4, in severe doubt.
Giles believes players will need a couple of warm-up matches to get match fit if and when the cricketing summer goes ahead, but they should still be able to keep physically fit while at home, with the ECB having provided gym equipment.
“My only ask of the players is that there is no real excuse why you can’t keep yourself fit during this period,” Giles said. “You could be jumping up and down in your front room, you can still go for a jog, you can use your home equipment. There’s a full range of stuff you could be doing so that you’re are ready when we get that green light. We might be quite rushed at that point but at least physically they are ready to get on with it.
“Many of them are fortunate enough to have their own training equipment at home or a home gym. Others would have been sent care packages by us, whether that would have been kettlebells or other equipment, so they can do as much training as possible.
On the subject of warm-up matches, Giles admitted that he would be open to England’s players taking part in an intra-squad match, perhaps featuring England Lions players too, in a similar vein to Australia’s trial match in Southampton ahead of last year’s Ashes series.
“From a playing point of view certainly, I think we’ll need to play a couple of warm-up games. What those warm-up games look like – they could be behind closed doors, they could be amongst England players – none of us really know until we get there.
“If we had to, I think that would be a decent idea [an intra-squad match] or a decent way around a problem if we weren’t playing cricket more broadly,” Giles said. “I think we could do that.
“Believe me, we will do whatever we can, as long as our people are safe, to get our there and play cricket.”