The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) admitted that they are looking for possibilities to stage major matches behind closed doors with a live broadcast of the game.
‘We’re mapping out what international matches would look like behind closed doors. The advice around mass gatherings (before the current period of lockdown) was 500 people or fewer. That was guided by the potential impact on critical services like paramedics and doctors’, Steve Elworthy stated, the tournament director of last year’s World Cup.
‘Then you have to think about medical provisions, creating a safe and sterile environment around that venue, so that everyone who comes in is clear. So it’s how you test them at the gate, the isolation units that you have to put in. These are all the considerations we are thinking about’, he added.
The four sets of visitors scheduled for the men’s game this year are the West Indies, Australia, Pakistan, and Ireland. On the other hand, England’s women will host South Africa and India.
‘We’re now thinking of all these things, the risks posed, and it just gets bigger and wider. But if that is the situation we are faced with then we will deliver on absolutely every single one of those to make sure it does happen’, Elworthy said.
‘One thing you have to consider is the national mood. You might be able to deliver a match but would it be the right thing? Operationally we believe we can deliver anything but we have to have an eye on that. You don’t just operate in a bubble, you need peripheral vision’, he added.
He also said that they are planning to stage four domestic competitions such as the County Championship, the T20 Blast, the One-Day Cup, and the Hundred.
On another note, England all-rounder Ben Stokes still prepares for the Indian Premier League (IPL) next month.
India is in a three-week total lockdown because of the virus outbreak. It was reported that the IPL is postponed until April 15 with no plans of cancelling.
‘At the moment my next competitive cricket is going to be in the IPL. I have to get my head round that I am playing even though in the back of my mind I know I am probably not. I have to build up and get myself physically in a position that if it does happen I am good to go’, Stokes said.
‘I cannot take three weeks off and expect the body to be ready for 20 April because it doesn’t work like that. It might happen and if it does I don’t want to be behind’, he added.
According to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), it is difficult to predict the future of IPL but they are still hoping for the league to resume on April or May.
‘The latest we can wait is till the end of April. If the first game isn’t played by the first week of May then it will be almost impossible to have the league this year. Even if we have to wait till the end of April to follow all the procedures, we can take a cue from the South Africa edition and conduct the league successfully. If you remember, that was the shortest IPL with 59 games played over 37 days and we can do the same. But certain measures will have to be taken’, a BCCI official said.