Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie is itching to get back to competitive action after completing the first week of training at the HPC in Dublin.
The 29 year-old has made 132 appearances for the Boys In Green since his debut as a teenager in 2010 and was chomping at the bit when training resumed on Monday.
“It feels great to be training – obviously when you haven’t been training for a while you are itching to get going again. The first day on Monday I was almost running out the door to get into the car and out to the National Sports Campus. It helped that it was a really nice day and the boys were in great spirits when we were out there.
“The social distancing aspect hasn’t been too difficult, as you don’t spend too much time in close physical contact at training. Obviously the small things like wearing gloves when hitting catches to each other or doing fielding drills it feels different, but in terms of batting the coach is 22 yards away feeding the bowling machine or throwing the balls at you so in that sense it isn’t too different.
"Getting your temperature taken and making sure you’re washing your hands is a challenge to remember, but we just have to ensure these just become a habit and a natural activity when we arrive at training.”
(Kevin O'Brien washing his hands at training. Pic Seb Daly/Sportsfile)
'Balbo' will be looking to add to his aggregate of 3914 runs at 32.08, which includes 18 fifties and 7 centuries when Ireland get back onto the field against England in a three-match ODI series in Southampton next month.
“The absence of cricket definitely made me appreciate what I get to do for a living – to travel around the world and play cricket – it’s something I missed hugely.
"Competing in games, being around your teammates and looking to win games for your country has been taken away from us for a brief period, but hopefully now we can start getting back to doing what we love.”
It's looking unlikely that the Pembroke man will however get the chance to lead his country in the T20 World Cup in Australia this October.
The ICC have twice deferred a decision on the tournament, and with it due to begin in less than four months, a postponement looks a foregone conclusion barring a dramatic turnaround globally in the Covid-19 pandemic.