Ireland cricket teams to resume training this week at three designated venues

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie at Cricket Ireland's High Performance Centre in Dublin
Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie trains in the nets at Cricket Ireland's High Performance Centre in Dublin

Ireland's international squads will resume training at designated venues on both sides of the border this week as lockdown measures are finally eased.

Southern-based players will return to Cricket Ireland's High Performance Centre in Dublin.

The northern contingent in the men's and women's squads will use the facilities at Stormont and Bready.

Cricket Ireland is still waiting to hear whether the planned one-day games against England in July will go ahead.

The senior men's and women's squads will initially undertake modified training sessions in accordance with Cricket Ireland's Covid-19 safe return to training protocols.

Extensive cleaning and disinfecting work has been taking place at the three venues in recent days.

George Dockrell at Cricket Ireland's High Performance Centre in Dublin
George Dockrell will be among the southern-based players who train at Cricket Ireland's High Performance Centre in Dublin

"Our elite senior players are obviously delighted to get some form of cricket activity back underway," said Cricket Ireland's high performance director Richard Holdsworth.

"We're very much taking a safety first approach to ensure the health of players and coaches, as well as the staff on hand who are supporting the sessions.

"The most effective and controllable solution was to create three high performance regional hubs to host the practice and training of our men's and women's performance squads.

"The sessions will feature one to one individual work in small group numbers."

Holdsworth paid tribute to Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland plus the provincial unions and the three clubs for ensuring the return to training.

"There has been a tremendous amount of work behind-the-scenes to get the elite players underway. We would like to acknowledge the many stakeholders involved."

Cricket Ireland wait on T20 World Cup news

Despite the write-off of Ireland's international home programme in 2020, Holdsworth is hopeful the return to training will put both the men's and women's squads in a good position ahead of possible international action later in the year

"We are still in discussions with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) regarding playing three ODIs against England in late July.

"Clearly, the approval of those matches is a matter for the ECB and the UK Government and we shall continue to liaise closely with ECB in that regard.

"In terms of getting ready for those matches should the approval come, with a six to eight-week period regarded as essential from the standing start of lockdown to being ready for international cricket - particularly for our bowlers.

"It was crucial that our players did not lose any more time with the England squad already back to training."

Cricket Ireland is also waiting to hear whether the men's T20 World Cup will go ahead in Australia in the autumn and if the postponed women's World Cup qualifier is going to be rescheduled.

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