After 4 months of lockdown with no cricket match, finally the time has arrived for all the cricket fans to celebrate and rejoice. The historic test match between England and West Indies is all set to begin at Ageas Bowl in Southampton today but with certain restrictions and protocols.
This test match will mark a new beginning. For the first time in 143 years, a test match will be played behind closed doors with no crowds to cheer up the players. Whole Cricket world will have an eye on this match, today either the match will pave a new way for all the cricket playing nation or break billions of hearts into pieces.
Cricket without spectators is a big gamble. Spectators brings a new energy into the cricket ground and among the players. What Cricket stands today is because of people’s love for the game, and the time they have devoted in all these years. But during these unprecedented times to keep on things going, the sport will now be played without the crowds.
READ ALSO: Impact of Coronavirus on sports
But what stands as concern today is, will it be able to grab the eyeballs of the consumer of the game ? People are not accustomed of watching this game without crowds. The noise, the cheer,the fan wave everything will be missed. However, a loss for one is a gain for another, this is a big time opportunity for the Broadcaster to make cricket reach every home, grab the attention and be a path breaker.
There can’t be a better beginning than to begin with the purest form of the game. However the players are returning on the field after 4 months of lockdown, asking for same level of enthusiasm, energy and competitiveness from the players in the first day itself would be harsh on them. The players are also burdened with a set of strict protocols rules which they need to follow to ensure their own safety.
The players are kept on a bio secure environment, with no connection with the outside world it sometimes becomes difficult and effects their mental well being, adding upon that the fear and terror of getting infected with Covid-19 virus always runs back in the mind, no matter how hard one tries.
According to new ICC set of rules, the players are not allowed to use saliva in order to shine the ball. It would certainly take time for the players to get accustomed to the new set of rules and regulations. “If a player does apply saliva to the ball, the umpires will manage the situation with some leniency during an initial period of adjustment for the players, but subsequent instances will result in the team receiving a warning,” the ICC release said.
The use of substitute can be allowed incase a player a starts showing the symptoms of the Covid-19 virus during the match.
England are going as favourites, but seeing no international matches in last four months both the teams have equal chance to dominate their opponent. The West Indies team won their last test series in England in 1988, but now Jason Holder lead team has big opportunity to begin the new era with new mindset and creating some big records.