We will be ready: Allott
After a winter of tough graft and technical improvements in the indoor school and gym, Paul Allott says it will all count when the 2020 season begins
Lancashire Cricket Director of Cricket, Paul Allott, is confident the squad can still put the tireless work of pre-season to good use once the 2020 domestic cricket season gets underway.
In line with Government advice, the players are currently self-isolating and adhering to the one outdoor exercise per day rule, with the season delayed until at least the end of May.
Lancashire were the first county to postpone their pre-season tour, which was due to take place in Dubai and South Africa, but did enjoy a week of outdoor work and a practice match in Mumbai.
That followed a strong pre-season of work in the gym and indoor school at Emirates Old Trafford.
And Allott believes that hard work will still count for something if and when the cricket season begins later in the summer.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work in and had more players at Emirates Old Trafford than in many previous winters because they were really encouraged by the performance of last year and the way the team played, so they wanted to stay at home and work hard on various aspects of their cricket,” Allott said.
“The chance to show what they’ve done in the first couple of months of the season has been taken from them and they have been in lockdown like everybody else.
“We did get away to Mumbai and got a bit of outdoor practice there, which is a positive especially in light of what has transpired now, and that was good.
“We were the first county to withdraw from our overseas pre-season tours and we received a bit of criticism when we did that, but I think every minute since then we have been vindicated regarding that decision.
“The ECB have said that there will be no cricket until the end of May, but there are contingencies to start at the beginning of June, July and August. Nobody knows but we will see what transpires.
“The guys are pretty switched on and will be able to pick up quite quickly. It might be the case that we get a two week lead time, it might be longer, but I’m confident they will be able to pick up and perform well, even with a short preparation period.”
During the coming weeks at home, Lancashire’s players will still be put through their paces with a personalised training programme.
And Allott has praised the dedication and commitment shown in the face of such unprecedented circumstances, and knows they will be ready when called upon.
“The players have been very understanding and are continuing to work hard,” he said.
“They have been given programmes, nutritional advice on how to stay fit and healthy with medical advice from Dr Perry, Dave Roberts and Sam Byrne to steer as clear as possible as we can from the virus. We are taking every conceivable precaution and planning as well as we possibly can to ensure they are fully informed about the virus and health measures to take, but also to keep as healthy and fit as possible in the circumstances.
“We have furnished them with gym equipment to take home, so they will keep ticking over. Cricket skills are inevitably put on the backburner, though there is plenty to keep them occupied at home. It’s a question of waiting now and seeing when the season starts.
“The coaches are speaking to each and every one of the players. We have regular communication via WhatsApp, we are having conference calls on a regular basis. We are in constant touch.
“We look forward to some cricket later in the summer, hopefully, when everyone will be back fighting fit. Everyone will be so glad to be able to get out and watch some cricket, and we will obviously try our best in whatever competitions we take part in.
“I hope all the Members and supporters are looking after themselves and we hope to provide some entertaining cricket for you all later in the summer.”