Cricket organisers hopeful of a return in July but details still be finalised

Cricket organisers hopeful of a return in July but details still be finalised
Cormac Hassett keeping his eyes on the ball during a training session of the Cork County Cricket Club, at the Mardyke in 2018. Picture: David Keane.

IS THERE some light at the end of the tunnel for cricket in Cork and will it arrive sooner rather than later? 

The first start of the re-emergence from the Covid-19 shutdown begins next Monday. 

The document containing the information didn’t specifically mention cricket and I’m sure Cricket Ireland will have to get some clarification on the matter from the Government before looking in their options. July or beyond is a realistic target.

Still, it’s a game that has a certain amount of natural social distancing built in and measures can be put in place to ensure that safe training may be carried out once Cricket Ireland and the Munster Cricket Union give it the green light.

In Holland, they have brought in certain regulations and guidelines for training kids and young adults. They include a nine-player/two-coach ratio, four players max in a net (one batter and three bowlers), a net should be left free in between two nets that are being used, the ball not to be handled by the batter and just pushed back to the bowler by the batter, bowlers using their own numbered balls and plastic/rubber balls to be used for fielding practice so they can be sanitised regularly.

These are things that can be done by any club but it would have to be managed to avoid it turning into a free for all.

Most tennis clubs have a court booking system and this is something that could be replicated in cricket. Whether it’s the club secretary or a ground booking officer, 45 minutes or hourly slots can be booked and allotted to members. It would probably have to be supervised due to people potentially flouting the rules but either way the physical and mental benefits of getting back to activity means that no matter how its done, it needs to be done.

On the playing side of things, July has been mentioned as a potential month to return to action but this is going to be much trickier to get going.

How you adhere to social distancing while travelling? Bowlers may be coming into close contact with batters, different fielders handling the ball, umpires holding bowlers’ hats and jumpers while they’re bowling, are all questions that need to be answered by Cricket Ireland and the provincial unions.

Munster Cricket Union fixtures’ secretary Joe O’Mahony said: “We have a couple of plans if we get the go-ahead in July.

“Whether we try and concentrate on two formats or just one is going to be the main issue for us. From the players’ perspective I’m sure there will be an appetite for variety but whatever we do it needs to be meaningful for all players in all divisions.”

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