WARWICKSHIRE CCC sport director Paul Farbrace has hailed the “outstanding” support the club and its players have received from the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board during lockdown.
The sporting world is facing up to the restrictions and uncertainties of the lockdown just like every sector.
For the cricket community, an extra twist has come from the lockdown arriving just as the new season would normally be taking flight.
The season to which everybody had been working so hard towards and looking forward to so much has not arrived and nobody knows when it will arrive.
The Bears family has pulled together, with lots of interaction between players, staff and supporters and, like employers in every other industry, Warwickshire is doing everything it can to support its employees.
“Of course, we can’t do anything with the players in a group situation but we are in regular touch with them,” said Farbrace.
“They can get out for one hour a day so are working hard to keep their fitness levels up, whether that’s running or cycling. They are all good professionals so want to be in the best possible shape for whenever cricket resumes.
“My biggest concern is for their mental health and well-being. Most professional cricketers are guys who happen to be good enough to make a living from cricket but, first and foremost, love the game. One of the things they love about it is being part of a team environment, so to be taken out of that is hard.
“We are doing everything we can to support them and are receiving outstanding input from the Professionals Cricketers’ Association.
“Their lead personal development manager Lynsey Williams is a really impressive and inspirational person and the players all know and trust her so have the support they need.
“The ECB has also been outstanding, both in providing financial support for the counties and for the way they have communicated with us in an open way and kept us informed.
“Of course, we have to be guided by the Government’s advice but let’s just hope we get some county cricket in this season. We all want to get back playing as soon as possible.”
The 2020 season going into abeyance is a blow for all, but not least players who are in the final year of their contract and, at the moment, denied the chance to impress their way to another.
“The uncertainty is really tough for all our employees, just as it is for those at every other business in the country,” said Farbrace.
“For players out of contract at the end of the season there is additional anxiety, but I have chatted to all of them and will continue to chat to them as this situation unfolds.”
Words by Brian Halford.