Estwick praises Windies fitness efforts
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Windies assistant coach, Roddy Estwick, has praised the level of commitment to fitness exhibited by players during 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 and 12 other players named in a 30-man provisional squad for the proposed three-Test tour of England started 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 (Windies trainer) and the medical team, so they’ve come back and they’re really not that far off [full fitness],” Estwick said.
“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 it was very important that we could get out as early as possible.”
Competitive cricket in the Caribbean stopped in March when Cricket West Indies was forced to abort the regional first-class championship with two rounds left, after the outbreak of COVID-19.
Barbados was then 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,” he said.
“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.”
The tour of England is scheduled to bowl off in July.