Estwick hails players commitment to fitnessSunday, May 31, 2020
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) —West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick has praised the level of commitment to fitness exhibited by players during the lockdown period triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the Barbadian contingent had returned to their first outdoor training this week since the country came under curfew nearly two months ago, and appeared in good physical and mental shape.
Test captain Jason Holder, along with 12 other players named in a 30-man provisional squad for the proposed three-Test tour of England, kicked off net sessions and fielding drills this week at Kensington Oval here.
“It's good to see how they've come back [to training]. Obviously, they've been following the programme set out by Ronald Rogers (West Indies trainer) and the medical team so they've come back and they're really not that far off [full fitness],” Estwick said here.
“They just needed to bowl a few balls, hit a few balls – you can do all the fitness but you still need to get into the nets, you need to still get match situations so that was very important that we could get out as early as possible.
“And really we've got to thank the Barbados government for giving us the opportunity to come out and get started.”
Competitive cricket ground to a halt in the Caribbean last March when Cricket West Indies was forced to abort the regional first class championship with two rounds left, following the outbreak of COVID-19.
Barbados was subsequently put under a 24-hour curfew from the start of April with all outdoor activities prohibited. The country has so far recorded 92 cases of the coronavirus along with seven deaths.
Earlier this month, the government began to ease some restrictions but while most outdoor team sports remain banned, players were given special permission to train behind closed doors at the Oval.
Estwick said the down period created by the curfew had been a blessing in disguise in some ways.
“Sometimes you can look at disadvantages but I look at the positives,” the Barbadian pointed out.
“Players would've gotten a decent rest, those who were carrying niggles could've sorted them out – you can [look] at Shannon Gabriel who was injured … he's had the operation and now that [break] would give him a chance to heal, to get fitter, to get stronger to come back.
“We've had a nice break and now we should be fresh and ready to go.”
Players have been training in small groups on allotted days to minimise contact and under Estwick's supervision, have undergone solid net sessions and fielding drills.
Estwick said the week-long sessions had been productive and praised the attitude of players.
“We're doing more one-on-one skills and that is very important in these times,” he explained.
“Players are coming in at different times so you're getting a chance to deal with individuals and deal with individual skills and work on changing techniques and things like that so we're quite happy with the way things have gone so far.”
The tour of England is scheduled to bowl off in July.
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