A group of 55 England cricketers have been asked to return to training to prepare for the start of the English summer season that was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Friday.
Cricket was shut down in March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, with the ECB suspending the professional game until 1 July.
England were scheduled to host a three-Test series against the West Indies in June but that has been pushed back.
The ECB statement did not say if the players would be returning for group training sessions with social distancing protocols in place. England cricketers returned to individual skill-based training last week.
“The pool of players will give selectors strong options when it comes to selecting squads across formats further down the line, as we move closer to our aim of playing international cricket this summer,” ECB performance director Mo Bobat said.
“We will need to continue to work closely with our medical team and government to ensure that our return to training and play activities are in line with best-practice guidelines.”
The ECB is looking to create “bio-secure” venues at grounds with on-site hotels to host matches behind closed doors after the British government gave the elite sport the green light to resume next month.
England were also scheduled to play Ireland in three one-day internationals while Pakistan are set to visit for three Tests and three T20Is in August. A revised schedule has not been announced yet.
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