The wait for bowlers looking to resume Test cricket after the coronavirus hiatus will be longer than others as the ICC has set a preparation time of up to two to three months for them to avoid getting injured.
As member nations ease restrictions imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday issued comprehensive guidelines aimed at getting the sport up and running around the world while, at the same time maintaining the highest safety protocols.
But the bowlers will have to wait the most considering their higher chances of getting injured.
"Test cricket would require a minimum of 8-12 week preparation period (for bowlers), the final 4-5-week period would involve match intensity bowling.
"Bowlers are at a particularly high risk of injury on return to play after a period of enforced time-out," the sport's world governing body said in its 'back-to-cricket' guidelines.
Under the subhead cricket specific risks, the ICC mentioned about "safe and effective return of players to strength and conditioning (particularly bowlers)."
"Limited preparation may cause higher injury levels," it said.
"When looking at timescales, consideration needs to be given to the age and physical preparedness as this will influence the risk and length of time required to develop appropriate bowling loads that will allow a safe and effective return to international cricket."
Pakistan are scheduled to tour England to play three Tests in August followed by as many Twenty20 Internationals, with the matches taking place behind closed doors as part of measures to combat the pandemic.
Up to 18 English bowlers, including Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes, have started individualised training sessions across seven county grounds from Thursday in a bid to prepare for the season ahead, including the encounters against Pakistan.
The ICC said a return to T20 Internationals for bowlers would require a minimum five-six week preparation period, the last three-week involving match intensity bowling.
The minimum preparation time for ODIs has been set at six weeks, with the final three weeks involving match intensity bowling.
The ICC also advised teams to use larger squads and exercise caution over bowlers' workloads and stated that Test cricket would require a minimum of eight to 12 week preparation.
International cricket has been in suspension because of the pandemic that has claimed more three lakh lives globally.
Like other sports, cricket has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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