Resumption of cricket: What it may look like

After about a month and a half of lockdown, India is looking to open up, but there is no indication as to when live sports will recommence in India. However, in Germany, the Bundesliga League will be restarting on 16 May, with the intention of completing the remainder of the season. So, what will live sports look like on resumption? Will there be any change in the viewership experience?

Will the game change significantly? Here’s my take on the same. Cricketers around the world have not been able to sharpen their skills for the past couple of months because of which they may be rusty. Here, it is vital that they should be eased into the game. Hence, it must be made mandatory for cricketers to play domestic cricket before being allowed to play in international matches.

With the Covid-19 pandemic still present in India, it can be a good time to introduce measures to reduce the human imprint on the game where possible. For example, having remote-controlled cameras to capture the proceedings of the game can be considered. The number of people in the stadium should be controlled and periodic health checkups should be made mandatory to avoid chances of spreading any infection.

With social distancing norms still in place, it is crucial that the matches be played in empty stadiums for the foreseeable future. To circumvent loss of revenue in this case, the feasibility of having Pay Per View (PPV) matches can be reviewed. While PPV is a common mode of broadcasting matches in the US and the UK, it is not very popular in India. The time may be right for us to consider the same.

Cricketers come from different localities. So, when they converge to play for their teams, whether national or state, it is recommended to maintain a healthy distance between each other. Hence, high fives, team huddles or pre- and post-match handshakes may be done away with. Having teams do namaste to each other during pre- and postmatch interactions seems like a good epiphany.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives and it is evident that cricket will also evolve as we move ahead. The health and well-being of our beloved cricketers are paramount. So, while some of the above recommendations may seem radical, their viability must be explored.

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