The world of cricket has been affected as all sport has since the Covid-19 pandemic started. While the world is finding it very difficult to resume its regular rhythm, giant strides have been made to restart sports which provides entertainment for everyone across the world.
Cricket has been no different, as live sports were suspended in March, and Australia ended up playing New Zealand in an empty stadium before the International Cricket Council (ICC) officially called off cricket.
2020 was supposed to be a big year for the sport of cricket as Australia was all set to host the World T20 in October-November later this year. But since the pandemic hit almost every country in the world, the dynamics of cricket change completely. The ICC is deliberating whether or not it will be safe to host the World T20 Australia but in all likelihood, the global event will get canceled. The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL)was also indefinitely postponed after it was supposed to start on 29th March, 2020. The BCCI hasn’t given up yet and is flexing its financial muscles to stage the IPL in the window which was meant for the World T20.
The Australians are not likely to complain as they have been promised a tour in return. Team India led by Virat Kohli is likely to tour Australia for a 4 Test match series followed by a few limited-overs games in December this year. The proposed Indian tour is likely to boost Cricket Australia’s cash Reserves to 400 million dollars which are almost double what they can earn by hosting the World T20. The October-November window is likely to get used by the BCCI to host the IPL. If the IPL gets canceled then the BCCI is likely to lose over 4500 crore rupees. Since a large part of BCCI’s profits goes to the ICC and other member nations, no one is likely to complain against it.
On the ground, many things have changed due to the global pandemic. ICC has banned the use of saliva to shine the ball and players now will have to use their sweat to maintain the ball. In Test cricket, 1 new ball is given for play for almost 80 overs in a day and the players have been using saliva and sweat to shine the ball which also helps in swinging the ball. The saliva can be a transmitter of the virus and has been banned by the ICC.There will be non-neutral umpires for bilateral cricket series and the teams will be allowed to have a replacement for players with symptoms of Covid-19. The Covid-19 replacements will only be allowed for Test cricket but a penalty of 5 runs will be imposed if a player is found violating the saliva ban more than once.
While the BCCI has decided to not travel for host till the end of August 2020, certain cricket boards are working hard to resume the sport. The West Indian cricket team is currently in England where they are going to play Test matches followed by Pakistan touring England for Tests and ODIs. Australia and New Zealand are also in talks to restart cricket but almost all games in the near future are likely to take place in empty stadiums.
Written by: Yash Chawla. Yash is former Anchor of NDTV with over 9 years of experience as a sports journalist