Rich Pyrah says the four Yorkshire bowlers were at least able to salvage something positive from the club’s recently cut-short pre-season tour to India.
The vast majority of the White Rose were in Mumbai for less than 72 hours last week before they were forced to return home early amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, at least bowling coach Pyrah, physio Kunwar Bansil and seam quartet Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher, Duanne Olivier and Matthew Waite were able to get a full week’s training into their legs ahead of the forthcoming county campaign.
The main squad were due to be in Mumbai for the best part of a fortnight. Instead, they landed in the early hours of last Thursday and flew home Saturday, leading Pyrah to describe one of the “weirdest tours I’ve experienced”.
“We had one net session with the full squad – a full day,” said the former County Championship title-winning all-rounder.
“The lads who had got out there early bowled two spells and those who had just come out bowled at 50 or 60 percent for four overs.
“The batters got a good bat because we had 10 Indian net bowlers with us. It was a good session.
“In India, there wasn’t as much chat around Coronavirus as there was in England. So when we left the country as a bowling group (on March 6), it died down a bit.
“The four lads we had just got on with it and really enjoyed it. It was brilliant.
“It all kind of kicked in when the main squad arrived and things had worsened at home. I don’t think there were any cases in Mumbai whilst we were there.
Brilliant bowlers camp in Mumbai, lots of gains made. Frustrated to cut the full tour short but health and safety comes first ???? time to spend some time with the family and try buy some toilet paper ????#WashYourHands #StaySafe
— Richard Pyrah (@RichardPyrah) March 16, 2020
“Obviously we knew there were issues brewing back home and other tours had got cancelled.
“As soon as England’s tour in Sri Lanka was cancelled, which isn’t far from Mumbai, we always knew it would be difficult to stay out there.
“Martyn Moxon just took the decision – the right one – to get us home. We didn’t want anyone there in isolation or being unable to get back into the country.
“Had we stayed, a lot of lads would have been thinking of their families.”
Yorkshire’s squad have been afforded a week off and hope to be back in training at the back end of this week.
“Nobody has any symptoms, and we’re just going day by day and awaiting information from the ECB.
“We’re getting pitches ready to train outside at Headingley hopefully Friday or Monday, which would be a week after landing. But we’ll have to see.”
The move to take the bowlers out to Mumbai early is part of a plan to minimise injuries. And the way to do that is not decreasing workloads.
“Bowlers’ workloads is something we have been looking into,” he said.
“Myself and the medical staff have done quite a lot of research in this, and we’ve been implementing it over the last two years.
“Bowling injuries have reduced, although it’s impossible to eradicate them completely.
“You are going to have the odd side strain here and there, that’s natural. But we are reducing them.
“Matthew Fisher was unlucky with his thumb and shoulder last year. That’s something we can’t do much about.
“The thing we’re trying to do is reduce spikes in the bowlers’ workloads – we don’t want big spikes or too much time off.
“It’s about getting the body used to bowling, and that starts in January the first day we come back into training after Christmas.
“Another obvious advantage is that the lads will get better. You can’t improve without bowling.
“A lot of bowlers can be wrapped up in cotton wool and let out when the situation dictates. But we are trying to encourage them to bowl a lot more.
“In season, we won’t let them have too much time off because that’s when the biggest risk of injury comes. When we have a down week, we will still make sure they tick over.
“We are trying to create a consistent curve.
“That’s one of the main reasons why we went out to India a bit earlier with four lads who we had identified would play in the first two two-day games out there.
“It was about giving them chance to build up to that first game.
“Had they gone with the rest of the squad, the first game would have been five days in, which isn’t a lot of time to get used to grass and longer run-ups and all of that.
“Those four lads would have had 11 days build-up to the first game, which would have got miles in their legs and reduced injury risk.
“Being out there together as a bowling unit was brilliant because we had a lot of time to talk about bowling. We did a lot of video analysis and implemented all the technical work we’ve been doing all winter onto grass. It’s so different bowling inside to out.
“They got through all the work needed and were raring to go. It’s just disappointing that we weren’t able to see the end of it.
“It’s something I want to keep doing, though, and will hopefully take a few more lads out with us in the future.”