Home fitness regime is working out for Blackpool's Lancashire cricket act Steven Croft

Blackpool’s Steven Croft has described the stay-at-home fitness work done by himself, his Lancashire team-mates and hundreds of other county cricketers as “a good challenge”.
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Creativity is the key says the Red Rose all-rounder, who has been using wooden logs for deadlifting and help from his four-year-old daughter Ottilie for weighted press-ups.

Croft, 35, is also a qualified personal trainer away from the game, so he knows exactly what it takes to stay in shape and be ready for if and when the coronavirus pandemic eases enough to allow a return to on-field action.

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The Lancashire squad have been working from home since mid-March, though they have not been furloughed, allowing them remote access to the club’s medical and strength and conditioning staff.

Croft explained: “We’ve got programmes from the fitness and medical staff.

“Just before the lockdown started, the lads were provided with as much equipment as possible. But I already had a few bits and bobs at home anyway.

“We’re all keeping fit, sharing videos and challenges on WhatsApp and things like that.

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Alex Davies has also been keeping us entertained with his TikTok videos, although I reckon I’m a bit old for that!”

Given his PT qualification, Blackpool-born Croft enjoys maintaining his fitness.

“To be fair, most of the lads enjoy keeping fit, so it’s been quite good fun,” he continued.

“I wouldn’t say there’s not much else to do because I’ve been kept busy with a couple of little ones at home, but there is plenty of time to stay fit. You can throw some time at it.

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“I’ve been getting the kids involved as well. Ottilie is four and Aurelia is five months.

“As a family, we’ve also been doing the Joe Wicks workouts in the morning, and my eldest has been on her bike and getting me to chase after her.

“On top of that, I’ve been going on long walks or runs. And when the kids are in bed, I’ll get out into the garden for an hour.

“It’s a good challenge. It would obviously be nice to have a gym to go to but there are plenty of things you can be creative with.”

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Aside from countless fitness videos and challenges posted by professional and recreational cricketers, there is also plenty of skill-based content available for youngsters desperate to get a bat or ball in their hands in the back garden.

“I’ve not done a massive amount of skills stuff,” added former Red Rose captain Croft, who debuted for Lancashire against Oxford University at The Parks in 2005. In recent years he has also turned out for Lytham CC when his Lancashire commitments allow.

“All I’ve done is a bit of catching and throwing just mainly to keep the shoulder going,” he added.

“But whatever sort of work you are doing – whether it’s catching against a wall or receiving throw downs from mum and dad – it’s about giving it that time.

“That’s what makes the great fielders, for example.

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“I’m sure someone like Glenn Maxwell would have loved running around as a kid, diving and catching.

“There probably wasn’t too much structure to it for him but it was a decent foundation and just a lot of fun