Chapple on pre-season preparation
Glen Chapple is confident Lancashire’s pre-season preparations will not be heavily affected ahead of the 2020 season following confirmation that the scheduled trips to Dubai and South Africa will now not take place.
The county has acted on advice from relevant health authorities, the ECB and the PCA following the Coronavirus outbreak regarding the planned fortnight-long tour between 17 March and 1 April, incorporating a four-day stay in Dubai before a consolidated training block in Potchefstroom.
The Club is now finalising alternative plans on home soil as they build up to their first game against Durham MCC Universities at Emirates Old Trafford between April 7-9.
The former talismanic all-rounder, however, has pointed to last month’s week-long training camp in Mumbai as a reason why his players will still be ready and raring to go despite a change of plans.
“This winter has been excellent. We’ve had a lot of players at home. We've got 17 or 18 at home at the moment which is more than normal.
“We’ve also had players on representative tours and playing in other parts of the world which is great for their experience.
“But the work we’ve done indoors and away from Emirates Old Trafford has also gone really well.
“We went to Mumbai in February and spent a week there. That was an intense training camp for the players where we played on some turning surfaces, but also just being outdoors in good heat, we got a lot of volume in.”
Lancashire’s mid-February visit to India included six days of training at Reliance Park, the training base of the Mumbai Indians, and then a T20 victory over a Reliance XI.
“We did that much work over there that we were ready to play the season when we came home. The players worked so hard over the course of the week and we were lucky enough to have trained at some world class facilities.
“The Coronavirus issue has crept up fairly late in the day, so we’re now looking at alternative plans. It’s something all teams will be having to take on board. We have to listen to advice and that’s what we’ve done.
“South Africa isn’t one of the most affected (Coronavirus) areas, but the challenges faced by teams travelling together and being in hotels together, we have decided it would be better to stay at home and give everyone the best chance to stay fit and be ready to play.
“You could end up with 25 of you quarantined abroad and then you might have to do the same when you get back. You’re then not ready to start the season because you’ve had four weeks of inactivity. That’s why we decided it was best avoided particularly with the start to the season so close now.
“We’ve taken advice from Nick Pierce, Chief Medical Officer at the England and Wales Cricket Board as well as the PCA on it, and whilst it’s not ideal, I’m more than confident we’ll be ready come Sunday 12 April when we take on Kent at Emirates Old Trafford.
“When we won the County Championship in 2011, we went to Beckenham on pre-season tour, so it’s certainly not the be-all and end-all to go abroad!”
Chapple went on: “We think we will be able to get outside here (Emirates Old Trafford) around April 1. One of the challenges we’ve got is that the weather has been pretty wet over the last couple of weeks, so we have to look at some other ways to get outside.
“We are going to look at some other grounds around Lancashire and Cheshire to see which is the driest and who could accommodate us for some outdoor practice.
“I have every confidence that we will be able to get the right preparation in and, as I say, we’ve had a strong winter so far.”
Chapple was speaking earlier today at a session with the local media, with one question coming about extra precautions taken by the coaching and playing staff at Emirates Old Trafford.
“There’s certainly a lot more sanitiser gel around,” he added.
“I think everybody is just a bit more aware of it. There’s a lot more hand washing going on, and we’re not getting too close to each other. I know the Club are putting some extra precautions in place, particularly around the ground.
“We all come from different areas of the county and I know the cases remain few and far between, but it’s important we make informed decisions based on advice from Public Health England.”