When & in Which Form Will Cricket Return Post COVID-19?
The England Cricket Board is looking like they will be the first to get their players back on the field.
After months of lockdown across continents, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, sport is finally, and slowly, starting to make a comeback – starting with the German Bundesliga on 16 May. Even Italy and Spain have allowed their football leagues to let clubs start training.
But, what about cricket? Is anyone working on a roadmap for its return?
According to recent reports, the England Cricket Board (ECB) is the first to take the charge. The BCCI, understandably, has made no move to get the ball rolling – considering the large number of cases in India – but the ECB is looking like they’ll be the first to get their players back on the field.
‘Biosecure’ is the term being used to outline their plans. The ECB spoke to its players last week about possibly having a pool of 30 cricketers stay together for a stretch of 9 weeks while they play the home test series against West Indies and then Pakistan.
Matches will be played at just two stadiums and players will be housed in nearby hotels, as they stay away from families for the entire stretch of time.
There will be regular temperature and COVID checks and the big pool of 30 will also allow the team to rotate players and avoid exhaustion during the six Tests they play.
According to a report in The Guardian, 23 June is when the players could be asked to gather with the series against West Indies getting underway around 8 July.
Among the ‘big 3’ of world cricket, Australia is, in fact, in the best position regarding the fight against coronavirus. The country’s cases are down to a few dozen a day and they have started the process of getting back to normal life.
Cricket Australia, according to reports, will start pre-season training by the end of this month and unlike the cash-rich BCCI and ECB, they need the game back. The Australian board let go of 80 percent of their staff till July saying if they didn’t do so, they’d be out of funds by August and even though there’s a T20 World Cup in the country in October, they’re focussed on the home series against India to help them out of this situation.
Close to $192 million are at stake for CA if India doesn’t go ahead with the tour, that’s slated to start in November, and this is where the BCCI can help other boards.
While cricket in India in the near future looks unlikely, the Indian cricket board can help other boards by travelling to the nations that are safe – like Australia.
The BCCI treasurer, last week, stated that the board would be happy to put the entire squad and support staff in a two-week quarantine in Australia before the series.
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