Why BCB’s ‘COVID-19 Exit Strategy’ could be a model for other cricket boards

What will happen to cricket amidst this escalating pandemic? With no end in sight and all cricket tournaments canceled or postponed, there is a growing fear in cricket fans about their favorite sport’s future.

It is unlikely that we will see any cricketing action soon. But how long can players wait? Players and cricket boards will soon have to come up with some ways to think of different scenarios and plan for the future. A way out of this challenging mess.

A ‘COVID-19 Exit Strategy’ For Cricketers

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) might have actually just laid out an exit strategy for other boards to follow during this pandemic. They are the first cricket board right now to have thought of a rehabilitation program to assist their cricketers to restore their physical and mental fitness once this pandemic is over.

BCB chief physician Debashish Chowdhury recently said to the media that they have formulated a plan of course for the future and named it ‘COVID-19 Exit Strategy’. “We will try to start it in the first week of May because we have to work outdoors. If everything goes accurately then the first phase will include physical fitness activities – which we will be calling the reconditioning phase. It will run for four weeks. And then the next six weeks will be to return to playing or high intensity reconditioning phase or cricket-specific reconditioning phase. We haven’t finalized the names yet,” he said.

It is an interesting strategy that will be divided into different phases. The first phase will involve the fitness of players with a high-intensity training session and will be followed by cricket-specific activities. Then, they plan to take the cricketers outdoors, most likely on a cricket stadium, for practice and preparations.

This reconditioning plan for the players will eventually be essential for all the cricket boards. Because almost all cricketers will be out of action for weeks or months by the time this is all over. Fast bowlers, especially, cannot be out of action for too long and this break will certainly harm their fitness and rhythm. It will be up to the boards to make sure that they are phased back into action and do not break. Batsmen and fielders too will have to be allowed to come back to their normal training well before this is over.

Other boards might have to emulate this strategy

No one knows right now when will get back to normalcy. While a majority of the people can still work from home or wait this phase out, sportsperson can’t. For active cricketers it is imperative to stay mentally and physically fit and also be prepared for action. This extended layoff period won’t be helping them but this is where boards can perhaps emulate the exit strategy being formulated by the BCB. In fact, the way things are heading right now, that might be the most prudent course of action for the future for cricketers to come out of this phase. 

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