BCCI to announce players’ training plan after clarity on lockdown relaxation

BCCI office. © Getty Images

While the Sports Authority of India, Athletics Federation of India and Hockey India have begun working on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for resumption of training in controlled environments, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still awaiting clarity on the lockdown relaxations post May 17, which are expected to be announced both at the central and the state level, before coming up with its own SOP document, THE WEEK reported on Friday (May 15).

The BCCI operations team is working with the Rahul Dravid-led NCA to prepare the SOPs. This is being directly supervised by the office-bearers of the BCCI.

“BCCI secretary Jay Shah is directly in touch with the Operations and NCA team while discussing resumption of training and competition,” said Arun Dhumal, BCCI Treasurer. “Meanwhile, we are doing our best to keep the players in best mental and physical health.”

“Every state will have its own set of relaxations. So, we need to know first whether our players will be able to reach the state association grounds and academies or not. We are seeing if we can get the elite (centrally contracted) players together or not at NCA or even at their respective zonal academies. For example, Maharashtra has high number of cases and Mumbai is in red zone, we see it difficult for players from the state or city to travel anywhere to train as of now. What happens to them then? We are looking at all aspects- area wise, local wise, state wise and even zonal wise to get players to resume training.”

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Dhumal said that the SOPs will be formulated for all age groups as well as men’s and women’s cricket.

“We are thinking of first and foremost preparing for a skill -based camp,” he said. “Our players, especially senior teams, have not been away from the game for so long, so that will be a priority. Focus will be to get them back into full fitness and training level.”

Dhumal made the BCCI’s focus on domestic cricket participation clear by saying it would be mandatory for players to first go to their respective state associations to resume training.

“Our domestic competition schedule, as of now, starts from August. We understand some parts of the country will also be affected by monsoons but state associations usually start planning for them in June-July.”

Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has advised some guidelines to the clubs to partially reopen their facilities in order to provide minimum training to the members.

As per the guidelines, “Amateur cricketers will now be able to use outdoor nets and practice pitches, although all indoor facilities should remain closed. One-on-one coaching is permitted, but social distancing—keeping at least 2 metres apart at all times—must apply. No sweat or saliva should be rubbed on the ball, and nets should be operated on an “every other” basis, meaning two adjacent lanes should never be in use at the same time.”

It is to be seen if the BCCI issues guidelines on similar lines.