Headingley closed as Yorkshire CCC players ordered to train at home

YORKSHIRE’S cricketers will train at home until at least mid-April due to the coronavirus crisis.

It will be some time before their are crowds flocking to the cricket at Headingley and grounds all around the country. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Martyn Moxon, the club’s director of cricket, said that the players’ health and safety was paramount and that Yorkshire are following government guidelines.

The club’s Headingley headquarters are now closed until after Easter, with staff working from home where possible.

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Yorkshire’s AGM is still going ahead this morning, but it will be a skeleton affair and a rubber-stamping exercise expected to neither last very long nor be attended by many members.

Martyn Moxon.

Safe distancing measures will also be observed.

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For the first time, the AGM is being live-streamed so that members can watch from home as the club, effectively, dissuades them from attending.

The meeting will carry none of the usual reports from senior management, only dealing with essential items, with a special members’ forum set to take place when circumstances allow.

Yorkshire CCC first-team coach, Andrew Gale. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Yorkshire’s players have been following their own individual training programmes since their pre-season tour to India was cut short last weekend as a result of the pandemic, which means that the season will not now start until late May at the earliest.

“The lads have been at home since they got back from Mumbai and following the current government guidelines, which is to stay at home as much as possible and reduce contact with groups,” said Moxon.

“They are currently training at home and will do so now until at least April 14.

“They are all doing their own individual training programmes, which have been set up by the S&C (strength and conditioning) staff here at the club.

“We’ll keep reviewing the situation as events are obviously ongoing, but there’s not going to be any group sessions until at least the middle of next month.”

Yorkshire are giving their players as much physical training equipment as possible, with gymnasiums now out of bounds following last night’s intervention by the government.

Outdoor running and walking are obvious methods of staying in shape, as well as keeping fit mentally amid concerns for the mental health of everyone in the prevailing predicament.

“That’s a concern for all of us, I think, not just the players but the general public,” added Moxon.

“Potentially being stuck at home all the time is a concern for everyone, and it’s clearly impacting on everybody’s lives.

“Players are human beings at the end of the day, so they’re going to be affected just like any other human being is going to be affected.

“Clearly, we’re in constant contact with them, while the medical staff at Yorkshire and the PCA (Professional Cricketers’ Association) are there for any help that they may need in the coming weeks (with regards to mental health).”

Moxon said that the Yorkshire players – “touch wood” – are all fit and well, with no one currently self-isolating as they are at some clubs.

He added that everything is in place for when they do return to action.

“There’s obviously not a lot we can do at the moment with regards to the cricket side of things,” he said.

“We’re basically waiting for the next batch of information as and when it comes, but we’ll be ready to go when we get the green light.

“Pretty much all the admin side of things is done, and it’s now just waiting to see when we can get all the lads back together and training together.

“It’s obviously a period of tremendous uncertainty.”

When group training does resume, Headingley is all geared up for the various indoor/outdoor activities.

“The good news is that the groundstaff are able to do essential work on the ground, so once we do get the go-ahead to be able to do anything we can pretty much do it straight away,” said Moxon.

“Grounds are drying out now, of course, and facilities are not far off being ready for use.

“If, by some miracle, we have a good three weeks as far as the virus is concerned, we could certainly start doing some cricket work pretty quickly.

“But nothing is going to happen before April 14, and it’s just a case of let’s wait and see.”

As the world grapples with its greatest medical emergency since the Spanish Flu of 1918, there is a cruel irony in the fact that sport – along with the vast majority of leisure and entertainment industries – is effectively shut down for the foreseeable future.

The public’s need for escapism has never been greater but there is, of course, no escape from reality.

“It’s just a nightmare situation for everyone,” said Moxon. “At the end of the day, people are losing their lives and it’s a serious situation the world is facing.

“If we miss a few games of cricket, so be it.

“The health of the population is obviously the most important thing, and we have to do everything that we can to protect people’s health.

“As a club, all we can do is try to look after our staff and supporters as best we can.

“Our staff are working from home as much as possible, and we will try and help everyone to the best of our ability,” added Moxon.