Resumption of cricket in a bio-secure environment, which is being planned by the England and Wales Cricket Board, is ‘unrealistic’ according to former India skipper Rahul Dravid, who reckoned it would be an ‘impossible’ task for boards around the world to replicate.
England are currently planning to host a three-match Test series against West Indies, with the Caribbean players likely to travel a month in advance to complete their quarantine and begin preparation ahead of the series. Meanwhile, the England players may have to be away from their families for an extended period of time should the concept of playing in a bio-secure environment be incorporated – a period of nearly nine weeks as per reports.
“It is a bit unrealistic to have things at the level the ECB is talking about. Obviously, the ECB is very keen to conduct these series because they have had no other cricket and it is right in the middle of the season. Even if they are potentially able to create a bubble and manage it in that way, I think it will be impossible for everyone to do it with the kind of calendar that we have, with the travelling that you do on tours and the number of people involved,” Dravid said, while speaking on a webinar organised by YUVA, a non-profit organisation for underprivileged sportspersons in India.
Dravid also questioned what would become of a particular Test match when a player, who’s in a bio-bubble, tests positive for COVID-19 in the middle of the game. “All of us are hoping that things will evolve with time and get better once we have better medication. In case of the bio-bubble, you do all the testing, the quarantine and then on day two of the Test match, what if one player tests positive? What happens then? The rules, as they stand now, will see the Public Health Department coming in and putting everyone in quarantine.
“So that ends the Test match or the series and that ends all the expenses that were made to get everyone there and create that environment. We’re going to have to work with the Health Department and Government authorities to find out a way in which even if a player tests positive, the whole tournament isn’t cancelled,” Dravid said.
Dravid, meanwhile, said the uncertainty surrounding cricket is not something new for the players involved in the sport, and that they ‘won’t take long’ to get their skills up to speed when cricket returns. “As a sportsman, we are used to dealing with a lot of uncertainty during our careers. Everything doesn’t fall into place. You tend to get scared and worried about stuff but I think one of the things that I would have done is think about things I can control.
“All you can control is your preparation, practice, emotional and mental well-being. You cannot control your results or performances. Coming back after this for active players… maybe it would take a bit of time to catch up to their original skill level. But that won’t take long. It is just like riding a bicycle.”
As far as playing in empty stadiums, which could be the case for cricket in the near future, Dravid said players will find a way to deal with it. “At a professional level, players will adjust and not let it affect their performances much. A professional, once he or she gets on to the field, has a lot of pride in oneself. So they will find a way to deal with that.
“But the experience at the end of the day is not going to be the same. Players love to perform in front of a crowd, engage with their fans and that adds incredible complexity to a sport. I think that’s what a player will definitely miss. There is a personal self-satisfaction when you perform in front of a large crowd.”
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