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Cricket clubs ordered to stop pre-season training for health reasons

Arnold Manders, seen here conducting a board session with the Bermuda Under-19 cricketers, is urging all clubs to cease pre-season training for safety reasons (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Cricket clubs have been ordered by the Bermuda Cricket Board to cease training, as a precaution against the rising spike in Covid-19 cases.

Arnold Manders, the BCB president, confirmed that correspondence had been sent to the clubs yesterday morning, after an executive meeting via Zoom the night before when the matter was discussed.

“We’re stopping training, an e-mail went out this morning from the board,” Manders told The Royal Gazette. “It’s because of the current situation with Covid-19 and the number of people who are positive.

As of the latest figures released by the Ministry of Health, the number of active cases stands at 779, with 26 in hospital, six of whom are under intensive care.

Fourteen deaths in Bermuda have been attributed to Covid-19 since March last year.

“We want to keep the general public and our cricket fraternity safe as well, and for now the best thing is for all training to cease until we get out of this situation,” Manders urged.

“The minister [Ernest Peets] has suggested no household mixing, so we can’t have players training. It’s something that we have to do in order to keep the numbers down and keep the cricket teams safe, which will eventually assist with the numbers in the general public.

“If cases trace back to cricket training then we could lose a whole season, so we’re trying to err on the side of safety. We’ll do our part to try to get the numbers down. ”

The Covid pandemic stalled the football season in December, and two weeks ago the decision was made to call a halt to the season, which had not reached the halfway stage.

Now cricket, which was looking at an early May start, could be affected again after the 2020 season saw only the Twenty20 tournament played later in the summer as Cup Match and the county competitions were all cancelled.

Like the Bermuda football team who are involved in World Cup qualifying matches, this summer will see the national cricket teams playing three international competitions.

On the schedule is the ICC Americas T20 World Cup regional qualifier in Toronto from August 16 to 27 and the Under-19 World Cup Americas Qualifier involving Argentina, Bermuda, Canada and the United States. They will battle for one qualifying spot from the Americas in the US from August 18 to 25.

The Bermuda senior team will also compete against Hong Kong, Italy, Kenya and Uganda in Jersey in the second round of World Cup Challenge League B from September 1 to 14.

“If we have to break the season down to make it shorter, then that’s what we’ll do,” said Manders, who admits an early May start to the season is unlikely.

“We have everything in place to start, but we’ll push it back just to be safe. We just have to wait and see how it pans out. We’ll be ready to start, but we also have to allow the teams time to train and the clubs to get their fields ready.

“The groundsmen can still work on their wickets; usually it’s just one or two people, but they just have to be careful. With what we have on this year, if we have to shut right down I don’t know how we’ll prepare our teams.

Manders added: “It’s difficult with having the three commitments this year, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. We don’t want to lose a whole season, so it’s better to play some cricket than no cricket.”

The Bermuda Football Association and BCB have held regular discussions to try to find solutions to benefit both sports who share some of the same fields.

Had Covid-19 allowed, this weekend would have been the final round of league matches in the Premier Division, with the First Division completing its fixtures last weekend. But that wasn’t the case, as there will be no promotion and relegation and no Premier Division champions crowned.

“They had been looking at restarting, so the cricket committee was in meetings with the BFA to find out if they restarted, how we were going to start,” Manders said.

“The associations have been working together, but these are different times and we just have to find a way to work it out. If it is to be a watered-down season, then it will just have to be a watered-down season.”

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Published April 09, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated April 11, 2021 at 5:54 pm)

Cricket clubs ordered to stop pre-season training for health reasons

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