Coronavirus: Part-time return for Middlesex cricketers from July 1

Stevie Eskinazi, Toby Roland-Jones and Max Holden model the new Middlesex kit (pic Middlesex CC)

Stevie Eskinazi, Toby Roland-Jones and Max Holden model the new Middlesex kit (pic Middlesex CC) - Credit: Archant

Middlesex Cricket have announced an intention for players to return to training from Wednesday July 1, initially on a part time basis while remaining part-time furloughed outside of their scheduled training routines.

Player workloads will be steadily increased throughout July, in preparation for a scheduled start to the domestic season on August 1 and, should there be no significant change to the current ECB guidelines around professional cricket, the club has also reached agreement with London rivals Surrey to play a two-day friendly on July 26-27.

This will take place behind closed doors at the Kia Oval, with the game being live streamed for fans to watch on digital channels.

Middlesex Cricket have also been working closely with Radlett Cricket Club to put in measures to ensure the ground and facilities meets with all ECB and Government health and safety requirements to operate as a safe and bio-secure training venue.

Training sessions will be closed to the public and access will only be granted to essential club personnel – all who will need to have completed a relevant Covid-19 education programme and complete daily medical symptom checks before entering the training facility.

The players’ return to training will be closely monitored by the club’s medical team and Covid-19 Officer, ensuring all procedures are being strictly adhered to, with players maintaining safe social distancing throughout their sessions and incorporating several new health and safety protocols to ensure their well-being and reduce any risk of infection.

Managing Director Angus Fraser said: “The prospect of returning to training, let alone playing, is something everyone is looking forward to and over the course of the past two or three weeks it has begun to feel realer and realer.

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“Middlesex, like all other counties, are waiting for confirmation from the ECB that cricket will start on August 1. When that conformation is given all the planning that has taken place will suddenly kick into action.

“The first part of the plan is the players moving from full-time to part-time furlough. When clearance is given our fast bowlers will be the first to come back and that will be on July 1. The rest of the staff will return on July 6.

“Training sessions for the players will, to begin with, feel different to any sessions they have had previously. Due to the Government guidelines and the desire to give all players a fair chance time will be valuable, so players will need to be disciplined and make the most of every minute they have, which is not a bad mindset to get into.

“At the end of July, we intend to conduct practice matches amongst ourselves and then against local counties where we can travel to and from the venue each day.”