The words on Jonny Bairstow’s Instagram account said it all as the England star yesterday returned to training.
Bairstow posted a photograph of his cricket equipment on the Headingley outfield in front of a practice net with the new Emerald Stand in the background gleaming in the sunshine.
It was therefore a poignant as well as an optimistic photograph, a reminder of what could have been following the driest May since records began in 1862, but also an indication of what hopefully will be soon, with England aiming to play a behind-closed-doors Test series against the West Indies at the biosecure venues of the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford from early next month.
Bairstow was back in action as England’s batsmen and wicketkeepers returned to training two weeks after the bowling group. The bowlers need a bit more mileage in their legs, as the saying goes, with Headingley having now joined the list of grounds where England’s players are undergoing individualised training.
In addition to Bairstow, the Yorkshire and England batsman Dawid Malan trained yesterday, both men practising under the watchful gaze of Yorkshire first team coach Andrew Gale.
Yorkshire’s David Willey, Adil Rashid and Tom Kohler-Cadmore will also be practising at the ground in the coming days after they were named in England’s 55-man training squad last Friday. Joe Root, the England Test captain, is training at Trent Bridge due to travel reasons.
Strict controls are in place at Headingley and at all grounds used by the England players.
They are training on a staggered basis in the presence of a coach, physio, and, where possible, a strength and conditioning coach.
At Yorkshire, Gale is being assisted by Rich Pyrah, the club’s bowling coach, along with Yorkshire’s S&C coach Ian Fisher and physio Kunwar Bansil.
Everyone has to observe strict social distancing, hygiene and temperature testing protocols in line with government guidance, with players and support staff arriving in kit ready for practice.
Physios have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to treat injuries, with dressing rooms and other facilities closed for the time being.
Yorkshire have issued their players and support staff with safety instructions that bear the slogan “Get in, train, get out”.
They have to park behind the North East scoreboard leaving a two-metre gap between other cars and people, while a water-refilling station is in use next to the North East Stand toilets.
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