Leicestershire’s players have been able to resume training at Grace Road despite a second lockdown in the city of Leicester.
The club’s first-team players came off furlough on Wednesday to prepare for the return of county cricket next month amid Leicester’s period in lockdown being extended by at least two-weeks after a surge of Covid-19 cases in the area.
The club confirmed that players were able to train in individual one-hour time slots with a coach at the Fischer County Ground following consultation with Leicester City Council and the ECB.
“The Fischer County Ground has been extensively cleaned with the very latest regulations and procedures put in place to ensure the safety of players and staff whilst at the ground,” the statement said. “The Fischer County Ground will remain closed to the public and will only allow for a limited number of personnel to be on-site at any time.”
While much of the UK is preparing for a further easing of restrictions this weekend, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC that Leicester had seen “10 percent of all positive cases in the country over the past week”, prompting the extended lockdown there.
The delayed 2020 county season is due to begin on August 1, with details of the formats and fixture list to be revealed by the ECB in the coming weeks.
Sean Jarvis, who started his role as the club’s new CEO on June 24, told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday that Leicestershire would be happy to “go with the consensus” when the counties decide on which formats to play in the truncanted season, however their own preference would be for white-ball cricket.
“In terms of expense and logistics, we would probably prefer a 50-over competition to start the season followed by a T20 Blast,” Jarvis said. “That way we could minimise hotels stays. But if the consensus is we start the season with a first-class competition, we are prepared for that, too.”
Either way, Leicestershire will be keen to welcome spectators to their Grace Road home if T20 cricket resumes, as planned, at the end of August. The club has significant financial issues and would welcome the cash-flow such ticket sales could generate.