For anyone connected to sport, this has been a really tough period. You can’t watch any sport and you can’t play any sport – how much worse could it get?Well, it could be a lot worse, as the status quo could be extended for a long, long period of time.It might be easier for some sports to resume – golf, for example, or chess, or even shooting, archery and the like, where contact is non-existent, and you can engage in it without needing to interact with anyone else.But these sports are in the minority, and almost every other sport requires some form of contact, or in cases like swimming, the use of the same water that could ostensibly carry the COVID-19 infection on to the rest of the participants.Cricket also falls in the same category. The ball, touched by almost every fielder, has the potential to carry the infection on from one player to another, or even to the ball-kids, as well as the umpires.No Saliva on Ball, England Pacers at Nets & India’s Next MoveSaliva on Ball Now ProhibitedThe process of applying saliva to the ball (now banned) is so ingrained in players, that despite the five-run penalty sought to be imposed on anyone doing it, there is every chance of them inadvertently slipping into the habit of a lifetime.In a team sport, joint celebrations come naturally, but even this will now be banned. A more tricky problem is that players do need to come together on the field of play to discuss tactics and even keep each other’s spirits up on a long, hot and tiring day of Test cricket. All these are problems for which cricket has to find the answer.The ICC has acted quickly, releasing SOPs to help international teams hoping to resume action.They include players not handing over caps, towels, jumpers etc to the umpires between overs, and the umpires needing to use gloves while handling the ball. This is quite interesting and what that will mean for players who need drinks between overs, or on the boundary edge, or for players needing new bats, new gloves, new helmets or even medical attention remains to be seen.Need an Alternative to Saliva to Keep Game Balanced: GambhirLogistics Now a NightmareTravel, of course, will remain a big question mark, though as we see restrictions lifting around the world, it is not inconceivable that international air travel may resume in the not-too-distant future. Indeed, several airlines are already flying to a few destinations, depending upon the policies of various nations.Going forward, travelling for tours will probably mean using chartered flights for teams with well-enforced social distancing on board. There will most likely be a quarantine period of 14 days or more upon arriving at the destination, which of course will mean that the team will not be able to train together on-field for those two weeks, unless there is a workaround.They could train separately, of course, but that would not really be the same.This will not only lead to a lengthening of the time needed to play a series, but will also mean that the players will be housed in a bio-secure bubble, with no chance of entry or exit from it through the duration of the tour.When & in Which Form Will Cricket Return Post COVID-19?In England, venues like Southampton, which have a hotel on the premises – I remember in the World Cup last year, one of our cameras was positioned on the balcony of a hotel room – would be favourites to host the series, which, of course, would be played sans spectators. The bubble would be tough for players to deal with, because a tour, especially if not going too well, can quickly get oppressive, and escape, even temporary, from a suffocating (or losing) environment, might sometimes be the best thing for players and even coaches.There would be no visitors: no friends, no family, unless they were to start the tour at the same time and self-isolate for those same two weeks. That too could bring its own share of problems. It isn’t easy to be cooped up in just one room with one’s family, with no outlet at all.At the nets, the aim would be to eliminate net bowlers, in order to minimise exposure. The way to do that would be to have extra bowlers travel with the squad, so that there would be no dearth of quality bowling in the nets.But since getting replacements midway through a series would be next to impossible, because of the quarantine period as well as the need for a chartered flight to bring the players in, a team would need to have a much larger squad anyway – perhaps, instead of 15 players, as is the norm, there would be 25, or even 30, covering all bases and even playing practice games among themselves.The support staff would also need to be larger, in order to cater to the needs of the extra players: trainers, coaches, masseurs, all would need to increase.Big Changes for BroadcastersIt’s not just about the players though, there are also the broadcasters. They too would need to be housed in a similar bio-secure bubble and would have to deal with the same restrictions.A broadcast truck or control room is a place where a lot of people work in close proximity, so a different sort of layout, with lots of smaller cabins, housing different departments, with barriers in between each work space, would have to be created, to cocoon the crew from each other.Each microphone and each piece of equipment would have to be sanitised thoroughly and regularly, which would become commonplace, though to wear one for the length of a cricket broadcast work day, which could stretch to 12 hours or more would be punishing,Then of course, there are the commentators, who obviously would find it difficult to work with masks on. They sit in close proximity to each other and share lip microphones – a practice that would need to change. Either each commentator will need their own microphone, or commentary might have to be done remotely, as BT has just done with its English language commentary on the Bundesliga, with commentators working from home, which of course would create its own set of problems, especially in a sport like cricket.Cameras in close proximity to players might now be a thing of the past as well, so remote cameras, such as Spidercam or even Buggycam might prove to be invaluable in these times.The advantage though is that without crowds, we may be able to listen in to the players talking to each other a lot more (mind your language, guys!) We might also see the ICC allow players to talk to the broadcasters on a more regular basis, perhaps with more of them being mic’d up, with all precautions, obviously.The issues to be addressed are plentiful and by no means have they been addressed, or even considered in this piece, but one thing is certain, the world needs sport and we will need to find ways to make it happen.Cricket, by its very length, might be more difficult to conduct than other sports, and it will require a lot more planning and measures to be put in place, but there is no doubt it will happen, perhaps as early as this summer in England, with both the West Indies and Pakistan likely to tour, fingers crossed!(Hemant Buch is broadcaster and writer who's worked for over two decades in this field. Cricket is his profession, and racket sports, his passion. He tweets @hemantbuch) We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.