Former India captain Rahul Dravid said that cricket is going to be significantly different from what fans and stakeholders are used to until a vaccine comes along for COVID-19.
“Until a vaccine comes on board and we are confident around the world… I’m no medical professional but from what I heard the virus is not going away for a long time now but we will get to a point where we will deal with it a lot better,” said Dravid on Sony Ten Pit Stop which was aired on the network’s Facebook page.
“Until then cricket is going to be different. I think cricket is nothing but a reflection of life in a lot of ways so I can’t see how it’s going to stay untouched.”
Dravid said that everything from the way the game is played to celebrations to etiquette in the dressing room is going to be impacted.
“Whether it be how we play, the dressing room etiquette and celebration etiquette and getting used to playing matches with not many people watching you or no one watching you as we will see in the next few months,” he said.
Cricket is expected to return next month when the West Indies play a three-match Test series in England for which the team has reached the United Kingdom already. The touring party will be tested for COVID-19 before taking part in the series which will be played in a “bio-secure” environment.
The bio-secure protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so a group of reserve players have travelled with the West Indies team to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.
“The series is really going to be a good test,” said Dravid. “It will be interesting to see what happens in a month’s time. Hopefully it will go ahead and they are able to play it safely. It will give us an idea as to how things will work.”
Among the points of discussion for the new rules to ensure cricket returns amid the pandemic is banning the usage of saliva to shine the ball.
“A lot of people were saying that in England if you will use sweat it has the same effect as saliva so it shouldn’t stop you from shining the ball. The medical people have said that the virus does not get transferred with sweat. But I’m not sure if they will allow a foreign substance on the ball at the moment they will see how sweat works.”
The matches will all be played with no fans. “It will be strange and different,” said Dravid about matches in front of empty stands. “Cricket players are performers and there is that connect with the crowd. Players are professionals, they will still practice well and compete but they will miss that interaction and noise and a sense of buzz that a crowd creates. But you have to deal with it and it’s better than no cricket at all and I’m sure the players will eventually get used to it.”
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