“The show must go on.” It is not a line but a way of living in this tough time. Everyday the world is trying to take one more step forward towards a normal life and cricket is no different. Cricket has shown its readiness to move on from the fear Covid-19 with various cricket series that various countries are organizing and teams that are ready to play. IPL is the biggest evidence of cricketers and cricket moving from the phase of pandemic in the hope of a better tomorrow. Not only tournaments are being organized but pandemic has brought countries closer. As UAE offered to help India by hosting the IPL, now Sri Lanka is also ready to show ‘good neighbour spirit’. Recently we all have to come to know that Sri Lanka Cricket is willing to host the Test series between India and England.
PUSHING FOR BEST CASE SCENERIO
With the increase in the number of Covid-19 patients in India, inviting a team over for a tournament is not ideal. Even BCCI’s very own IPL had to be shifted to Dubai, looking at the Covid condition of the country. India and England were supposed to play a five-match-Test series in 2020 but the world is being dominated by a deadly virus at the moment which has made it impossible to carry out the plans the way they were scheduled. Avoiding any risk to the players and other staff, both the boards, BCCI and England Cricket Board have decided to postpone the series. The Test series was scheduled for the month of September and October in this year but now this Test adventure stands cancelled for 2020. The boards have decided to hold the series in the year 2021. Both the boards are trying their best to make it happen, even if they had to push it to next year but the way number of Covid-19 patients is increasing in India, it seems impossible that India would be in the condition to hold this much awaited series.
NEIGHBOURS TO RESCUE
While BCCI, Board of Control for Cricket in India and England Cricket Board are busy making the right call regarding the future of this series and they seem pretty adamant about holding the series, India’s neighbouring country takes it upon itself and offers help. Yes, Sri Lanka has offered to host the series between England and India that was supposed to take place in India. We have recently seen our very own IPL moving to UAE and now it won’t come as a great shock if this five-match Test series also is hosted by some other country. On one hand, where it shows solidarity amongst the Cricket fraternity, on the other hand, it makes the Indian cricket fans sad.
Sri Lanka is in a much better condition as compared to India when it comes to lockdown and Covid-19. Sri Lanka government has already got rid of lockdown in their country and even the schools have been reopened. Witnessing the improved condition in Sri Lanka, BCCI swayed towards SLB and give the reins in their hand to hold this Test series. Sri Lanka Cricket had also offered to host IPL 2020 for India but Emirates had the upper hand here, being the ones with the experience of hosting it once, in 2014. Where would this series be hosted is still a mystery as BCCI is yet to take the final call upon the matter. But in India or Sri Lanka or some other part of the world, cricket fans want the pitches to be full of their favourite players. Who hosts that splendid game is always a secondary thought in the mind of passionate players and their fans.
BOND STRENGTHENING DURING PANDEMIC
It is not the first case of a cricket board has come up to help out another board during the time of this deadly pandemic. Earlier this year we saw how Cricket Australia was dependent on their series with India to recover from their financial losses. BCCI did not flinch and stood strongly to help them. BCCI treasurer, Arun Dhumal assured the board that a two-week quarantine won’t be a big deal for team India, in the bigger picture of cricket getting benefitted. Dhumal said while talking to Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “There is no choice – everyone will have to do that. You would want to resume the cricket. Two weeks is not that long a lockdown. That would be ideal for any sportsman because when you are in quarantine for such a long period, then going to another country and having a two-week lockdown it would be a good thing to do. We’ll have to see what the norms are post this lockdown.”
Many cricket boards are looking up to BCCI for their revival after the crunch that Corona brought along with it and BCCI is planning to do just that. All the members of ICC need to get out of the slumber that pandemic has pushed them into. And BCCI plans to rejuvenate all these boards as the action on the field begins.
Indian team was scheduled to play 3 One Day International matches and 3 IPL matches in Sri Lanka, in the month of June and July. Of course, the matches could not take place due to Covid-19 and now the SLC is looking for rescheduling of matches so that they can sell their media rights. 60% of the value of these rights depends on India’s tour to Sri Lanka. On the other hand, Cricket South Africa did not have any scheduled series with India as per the Future Tour Program but InsideSport recently reported that India has agreed for 3 T20 game tour of South Africa on the request of CSA’s new cricket operations chief, Graeme Smith.
Many other cricket officials have also urged the stronger cricket boards like, BCCI AND Wales Cricket Board to take the lead and bring normality to the game.