As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic began to spread in early March, cricket continued as usual. India finished its New Zealand tour on 2nd March; Australia completed its South Africa on 7th March; Australian women’s team lifted the women’s T20 World Cup title for 5th time on 8th of March.
But now most of the cricket tournaments affected due to coronavirus pandemic.
Cricket In The Initial Phase Of Coronavirus Pandemic
Then a fortnight later, as South-Africa in to play a three match ODI series; Preparatory IPL camps had begun in full sway; New-Zealand crossed the Tasman Sea to play the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy; Pakistan Super League began, with MCC team playing a couple off matches to promote cricket back in terror-affected country; the cricket fraternity tried a number of things to ensure that the cricket tournaments continued.
To prevent the spread of infection, the players and match officials were asked to do away with customary handshakes, WUHAN- a set of hygiene guidelines were issued for the players during first India-South Africa ODI in Dharmshala. The first ODI match in Chappell-Hadlee Trophy between Australia and New Zealand were played in an empty stadium.
Cancelled Cricket Tournaments Due To Coronavirus
Post that all the scheduled cricket tournaments have been cancelled one after the other. The Pakistan Super league was called off mid way.
Moreover, England and Wales Cricket Board too suspended all recreational cricket for an indefinite period. As it appears now, cricket and sports is very likely to be restored in the next couple of months. And if things don’t improve, it could affect cricket for the rest of the year.
Indian Premier League 2020
The IPL 2020, that was scheduled to begin on March 29, for the moment has been postponed till April 15 by the BCCI.
Earlier there were talks of the BCCI organizing the tournament behind closed doors but with government suspending the Visa services for the foreigners till April 14, the board had no option but to postpone the tournament. Moreover, the success of the premier league without the charm of the hooting audience was highly doubtful too.
Looking at the current scenario of a country wide lockdown, it’s almost impossible for the BCCI to start the IPL anytime soon. If things get better in coming days, we might see a curtailed version of the IPL.
World Test Championship (WTC)
The WTC is a two year long event that’ll see the top Test teams compete for supremacy in the cricket’s longest format. Each team will play 6 series, 3 at home and 3 away with 120 points to gain per series.
The cricket matches being suspended for the moment, the fate of several series hangs in uncertainty.
Assuming that it’ll take another six month for the situation to get back to normal, teams like England and Sri Lanka are to suffer the most. England was all set to play Sri Lanka (2 Tests) and West Indies (3 Tests) and Pakistan (3 Tests) in March and June and July/August respectively.
If the series stands cancelled and the points are shared between the two teams, it’ll be a huge loss for England, who are the favourites to win at least 2 of the 3 series, barring Sri Lanka.
July also sees West Indies take on South Africa in a two Test series. Now if the series gets cancelled. It’ll be a setback to both South Africa and West Indies who were looking to get some momentum into their journey in the ICC World Test Championship. Both the teams are among the lowest ranked, lurking at 7th and 8th spot respectively, and desperately needed some points to keep their hopes alive in the Championship.
Bangladesh too is all set to host Sri Lanka and New Zealand in July-August. Now looking at Bangladesh’s record at home in recent years, it’s a great opportunity for the Bengal Tigers to revive themselves in the tournament. If the series gets cancelled, their chances in the tournament will be all but over.
However, the ICC could well accommodate all these series somewhere in the next year or maybe extend the championship to 2022 to nullify the impact. For the moment, let’s hope that things get better quickly and we can get some action soon.
Asia Cup 2020
While there is still some time left, but if things don’t get better, Covid -19 can also account for the prestigious Asia cup that’ll see India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.
The abandonment of the T-20 tournament will huge a disappointment it’s one of the few opportunities for the fans to witness an India- Pakistan encounter.
Men’s T-20 World Cup
The biggest concern for the ICC will be the organisation of the Men’s T-20 World Cup. The tournament is all set to take place in October-November in Australia.
It’ll be a 12 team affair. Four teams from among Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Namibia, Scotland and Oman after an initial qualifying matches will join the top 8 teams for the Super 12 round. As of now, no official announcement has been made by the ICC regarding the tournament.
The collective and individual efforts by all the countries should be able to contain and eradicate the pandemic before the scheduled start of the tournament.
Other Cricket Tournaments
Recently, ICC postponed all ICC qualifying events due to take place before 30 June in the view of health and well-being of the global cricket family.
“In light of the significant global health concerns at the current time and the restrictions on movement imposed by governments across the world, the ICC has taken the decision to postpone all events up until the end of June subject to further review. “ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley
Players Spend Time Indoors
As most governments have invoked lock-downs in their countries, players have been forced to spend times indoors.
Videos of players doing workouts, taking indoor challenges, spending time with family and even chatting with one another over the social media have appeared.
In ways the break, albiet uncalled for, will help players take some rest from the fast paced cricketing world.
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