NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Cricket lost most of its fixtures of the year, including the World Cup, and players were hanged in a “luxury jail” as the game stagnated on its feet, leaving scars. Covid-19 epidemic.
As New Zealand renewed their trans-Tasman rivalry in Sweet Australia, the melodious sound of the bat meeting ball was muted and the Pakistan Super League Twenty20 competition was coming to an end.
The novel coronavirus outbreak forced players inside the house, putting some cricket boards, including some of the more affluent ones, in the red.
Not being able to play half a dozen Test series, creating a calendar logjam and putting pressure on how the finalists for next year’s World Test Championship (WTC) will be decided.
Meg Lening’s Australia Australia narrowly defended the women’s Twenty20 World Cup before a record crowd of more than 1,000,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March, but the men’s tournament was not so lucky.
Despite the outbreak, the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) has to wait until July before postponing the Australian version of the tournament until 2022.
While the game endured a four-month rare condition, the board introduced cost-cutting measures for post-epidemic financial consequences.
Several boards, including Cricket Australia Australia, were pushing for a lion’s share of their workers, while the England and Wales Cricket Board later fled, describing its chief executive, Tom Harrison, as “financially oblivious”.
The ECB postponed the inaugural edition of The Hundred competition, while their players, men and women, accepted pay cuts.
International cricket finally resumed after a 117-day break when England hosted the West Indies in a three-Test series at bio-safe locations in Southampton and Manchester in July.
This “new normal” game of living in solitude and playing behind closed doors provides a template to continue in extraordinary circumstances.
While the immediate reaction of the players suffering from the action was relief, the stress of bubble life immediately manifested.
England all-rounder Tom Currey has been ruled out of the Big Bass League (BBL) in Australia, citing bubble fatigue, and the country’s Tom Benton has been ruled out of the Twenty20 tournament for the same reason.
“It will be very difficult,” said South African spider Kagiso Rabada after experiencing bubble life in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates.
“You can’t communicate. You have basically lost your freedom. It’s almost like a luxury prison, ”the 25-year-old told a virtual news conference, another innovation pushed by the epidemic.
India captain Virat Kohli said that when deciding the length of a cricket tour, the toll that bubble-hopping takes on a player’s mind should be taken into account.
Celebrating his 32nd birthday in the IPL bubble, Kohli said, “These things should be seriously considered.”
Meanwhile, the IPL, despite being in another country and with a new title sponsor outside its original window, proved to be an incredible success.
However, concerns over COVID-19 erupted earlier this month when a biocycular bubble burst in South Africa, prompting England to leave the ODI series and return home.
Cricket also threw its weight behind the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, in which many teams were on their knees.
The ICC, which elected New Zealand’s Greg Barkley as its new president in November, had slashed its code of conduct to effectively allow such a show of solidarity for racist equality.
Australia started their cricketing summer in Sydney with a ‘stand-up circle’ by recognizing the powerful stand against racism and the indigenous Austral Australians.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s relentless campaign to help top teams overcome their safety concerns and tour the country was committed to visiting England, New Zealand and South Africa in 2021.
Report by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Edited by Ken Ferris
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