Cricket takes first steps towards resumption: England, Australia among teams to return to training

The last international cricket match was played on March 13 when Australia and New Zealand revived their Trans-Tasman rivalry in front of empty stands at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It’s been close to 3 months since any international cricket took place as the Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the global sporting calendar.

Several high-profile series, including India’s ODI series against South Africa, have been suspended, cancelled or postponed. The Indian Premier League (IPL), one of the sports most lucrative tournaments, has missed the April-May window due to the outbreak of the pandemic. The inaugural edition of The Hundred will be held next year.

Star cricketers from across the globe have been trying to keep themselves busy in lockdowns by engaging in household chores and social media interactions with fellow cricketers and experts. Some have become TikTok celebrities.

England vs West Indies Tests likely to mark the restart

Even as the Covid-19 crisis rages on, steps are being taken for the return of cricket. The sport is not going to be the same once it restarts, given the ban on saliva and wild celebrations. Players are likely to spend a certain period of time in isolation before and after the series. More importantly, it’s going to be played in front of empty stands, at least in the near future. No fans!

Among the major positive developments is the England Cricket Board announcing their schedule of a 3-Test series against West Indies from July 8, subject to approval from the UK government.

The West Indies tour of England in July, if goes ahead as scheduled, will mark the resumption of international cricket. The series will be played behind closed doors in a bio-secure environment. The first Test will be held at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl and the 2nd and 3rd Test at Lancashire’s Old Trafford as both these venues have on-site hotels.

England and West Indies players have returned to training, marking the first steps in cricket’s return to normalcy.

More beautiful than ever: Sound of ball hitting the middle of Root’s bat

The sound of the ball hitting the middle of Joe Root’s bat sounded more beautiful than ever as it gives a ray of hope for cricket-starved fans across the globe. The Test skipper has been working with former England coach Peter Moores at Trent Bridge while a few other of his teammates have resumed training at Headingley.

England picked a group of 55 players for socially-distanced skill-based training last month.

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