The Little That is Left for Cricket in 2020

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India, May 2020 -The world of cricket has hit what feels like rock bottom. The Coronavirus lockdown, coupled with the uncertainty surrounding the future of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the cricketer who captained India to multiple ICC trophies, has seen the game reach unimaginable lows. Dhoni has not played since last year’s 50-over World Cup. With the novel Coronavirus pandemic threatening the lives of many, there are doubts over whether the T20 World Cup scheduled for October will take place.

  • A promising season suspended

A few months ago, a player auction was held in Kolkata amid pomp and colour. Tycoons, celebrities, and local politicians were all in attendance ready to shell out hefty sums for the country’s top cricketing talent. Kolkata Knight riders carried the day signing Pat Cummins, a 26-year-old Australian fast bowler for Rs155m, a record for an international player. Farokh Engineer, the former India Batsman, said: “I sympathize with Pat Cummins who was set to earn thousands for every ball he bowls.”

  • The Lockdown Effect

Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, announced that a strict lockdown would be in effect till 3rd May to contain the spread of the virus. Due to travel restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus, players like Cummins have been restricted to home workouts, playing with their kids, and playing video games. Cricket fans have flocked sites such as Sportsadda India where they can the best and latest news on cricket in India.

  • Is it worth risking people’s lives for the game?

Suggestions of games behind closed doors once travel restrictions are over have been mooted but no one knows when and if the restrictions will be lifted. As part of the COVID-19 pandemic aid, Shoaib Akhtar, a former Pakistan pacer suggested an inter-country series which was not a welcome idea among fellow players. “I am not thinking about cricket in these unusual times,” Harbhajan said in an interview, “It is not in mind. Nobody should be thinking about it.”

  • Effect on Women’s Cricket

When Australia beat India to win the T20 World Cup in Melbourne back in March, a record-breaking crowd of 86,000 was watching. For India, a star in the name of Shafali Verma had emerged. She was an inspiration to young girls who have a passion for cricket as well as a sign of the future of women’s cricket in India. However, Mithali Raj, India’s women’s captain thinks that the Coronavirus lockdown could hinder the development of youngsters.

  • Contingency Plans

The ICC has laid out an all-inclusive continuity business plan to enable the league to adapt to the COVID-19 situation and back-up plans based on how the pandemic continues to develop. The organization is working closely with the local communities, including hospitals, to offer the best support. Raising funds has been a major issue though. However, the members acknowledged that there are many ways to raise funds other than through cricket matches which would endanger the lives of people.

  • What does the future hold?

Young cricketers looking to break out in the IPL agree that they might have to wait for now. Many such wonderkids have to find ways to cope and chin up rather than despair. Watching old videos of legendary players like Viv Richards are among the ways some of the young players are coping. Virtual cricket games are also going on with top performances witnessed on the first day of the Virtual F5 Cricket World Championship.

Most sports events around the world have come to a halt. The English Premier League has been suspended midseason and the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed by a year. Though the long term image of the IPL will remain intact, most companies, as well as teams, will have to cut down their budgets with fear that the tournament will struggle to bounce back financially. The fact is that there will be changes and the IPL will feel a little different.