England women’s cricket team will return to training across six different venues on Monday amid renewed optimism that a proposed tri-series with India and South Africa could take place this summer.
A total of 24 players from Lisa Keightley’s squad will begin individualised training across the country on June 22 before progressing to small group sessions at a later date.
The resumption of training in small cohorts will be the side’s first type of formal, in-person training session since their T20 World Cup semi-final exit in Australia on March 5.
Players will follow the same medical guidelines and be placed under the bio-secure conditions that have been in place for England men, who returned to individual training on May 20 due to their earlier targeted return on July 8 in a three-test series against the West Indies.
England women were due to host two international series this summer, with India visiting in June and South Africa in September. Though the former have already been postponed, the ECB remains in contact with the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket South Africa to try to formalise some new plans for cricket this year.
The only definitive date in the women’s calendar at present is the South Africa series — comprising four one-day internationals and two T20s — which is scheduled to begin on September 1. Squads for specific formats are expected to be named in due course, providing the proposed series are given the green light.
Jonathan Finch, the director of England Women’s cricket, said: “We remain hopeful of playing cricket this summer and it’s exciting for this group of players to be able to return to training.
“We’ve had great support from the First-Class Counties with the use of their venues, and we’re grateful to them for that, and hopefully this is one step closer towards England Women returning to the field this summer.”
There were fears that women’s cricket might not go ahead this summer after Clare Connor, the ECB women’s cricket director, last month said England women’s fixtures might have to be sacrificed in order to safeguard its long-term future.
There were fears that women’s cricket might not go ahead at all this summer after the ECB women’s cricket director, Clare Connor, last month said the revenue-driving men’s international game had to take priority.—AP