Tony Palladino was the first Derbyshire bowler to take part in a scheduled one-to-one training session today as the squad begin preparations for the return to competitive cricket next month.
The experienced seamer, who celebrated his 37th birthday earlier this week, admits he got the same buzz he always gets on a return to pre-season training, but it’s not a feeling he’s used to in July.
“It was nice to get the spikes on and get some proper bowling under my belt,” Palladino told BBC Radio Derby.
“I’ve kept ticking over fitness-wise, but there’s nothing like getting the ball in hand again.
“It was strange turning up and being the only player there, but it’s a great facility where we’re training.
“It’s been hard training on your own, so now I’ve got a taste of getting back towards normality.
“For as long as I can remember, in summer I’d be playing cricket and training.
“We’ve got to go through the phases and it’s about seeing how these first few sessions go before we move towards bigger group training sessions.”
The Derbyshire squad will train at Repton School throughout July, following the confirmation that the Pakistan touring group will be based at The Incora County Ground, Derby prior to their summer series against England.
Although a number of new regulations have been introduced to his practice sessions, such as refraining from using saliva on the ball, Palladino has embraced his return to training and is looking forward to what he hopes will be a busy, albeit shortened, summer of cricket.
“We all appreciate it needs to be safe and follow these necessary procedures,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to be safe, but it’s nice to get back to some sort of normality.
“The coaches, physios and Strength & Conditioning coach have been working hard on the planning for training and four weeks isn’t an ideal turnaround, but we’ll make it work.
“I almost did it (use saliva on the ball) today. Subconsciously, walking back to my mark, I went to shine the ball as I normally would and remembered I couldn’t do that.
“I also bowled in a headband to reduce the need to wipe sweat off – that’s something I’ve never done before!
“It’s what we need to do and it’s going to be a busy couple of months. We all want to return to playing cricket and also get games on for our supporters. Everyone’s going to have to be prepared to play, so all I can do is keep practising properly.”
Together, We Are All Derbyshire. Share memories, favourite moments and engage with fellow supporters. Get in touch on social media, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01332 388 101.