Coronavirus pandemic has indisputably affected the life in and around cricket. Some changes that it has caused will prove to be irreversible. As a matter of fact, it is difficult to predict the future of cricket and cricketers after the epidemic. That said, the game is more prominent than this crisis, and it will definitely found a way out with some adjustments. The cricketers will have to be more disciplined in their life both in and out of stadiums. They have to take extra care while handling their cricket batting gloves, helmets, and other cricketing equipment as equipment can serve as a breeding ground for the virus, and nobody wants that.
Moreover, some of the rules need to be altered. In fact, some of them are already changed by the ICC (International Cricket Council), like players using saliva to shine the ball. All-in-all, cricket will not be the same after the crisis.
In this piece, we have talked about life in cricket after the pandemic.
No Big Crowds
The most significant change or the biggest setback will be no crowd in the stadiums. The audience makes the cricket the sport it is, they are the driving factor, especially in India. Take the case of IPL, the crowd plays as the 12th men for the home team. The noise people make, can be very unsettling, and if you are not used to it, the pressure from the crowd can eat you alive. However, in the future, less crowd or no crowd at all will be allowed into the stadiums, so no more shouting and singing.
Local Umpires, additional reviews, no use of saliva, and more
ICC being the governing body of cricket, has taken some steps to mitigate the risk posed by the COVID-19. These regulations will shape things going forward. Some of these regulations are likely to remain in place even after the crisis.
This rule is in line with the new concussion replacement rule. As per the law, teams will be allowed to replace players showing COVID-19 symptoms with the closet man-to-man replacement, during a Test match. Match Referee will be the one approving the substitution.
Ban on using saliva for shining the ball:
This is the most controversial change considering saliva plays an essential factor for shining cricket balls, especially during a test match. However, now players are not allowed to use saliva. If he/she does apply spit, at first, the situation will be resolved leniently. But repeated offenses will attract harsher actions, including a warning to the whole team.
ICC has temporarily scrapped the rule of appointing neutral umpires from all international formats due to global travel challenges. As a result, local match officials will be selected for matches.
Additional DRS reviews:
Teams will get an extra review in each innings of a match. This decision is taken while keeping in mind that the less experienced local umpires might be on duty during games because of the non-neutral umpires rule. Less experienced umpires increase the chances of a wrong decision, so in Tests, each team will get three reviews, while in white-ball formats, each team will get two.
Regulations related to practice sessions
ICC has changed the format of practice sessions of the teams before a series. According to new rules, the training will talk place in the following phases:
Phase 1: Solo training
Phase 2: Small groups of three or less
Phase 3: Slight bigger groups but not more than 10
Phase 4: Full squad activities
Besides the alterations mentioned above, the players themselves will have to take care of certain things like they will have to take added precautions while going out of their hotels for shopping or any other thing for that matter. Plus, they have to pay special attention to regularly cleaning their cricket batting gloves, the grips of their bats, their helmets, etc. Overall, they have to become very circumspect because even a single wrong step can be perilous.
Corona virus pandemic has affected the game of cricket, and some of the effects will be long-lasting. It has already forced many changes, and several more are expected. It is evident to understand life in cricket will not be the same, at least in the recent future. So, be ready to see a different brand of cricket in the coming years.