117 days. That’s how long it has actually been given that international cricket was last played. It was Australia and New Zealand who played the last global fixture at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 13.
The sport had not seen such a long break because the 2 World Wars in the early 20 th century. Even during the World Wars, first-rate cricket was played, especially in India, however the pandemic has actually imposed an overall shutdown.
However, as they say, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The noise of the leather brushing the middle of the willow is all set to be heard once again as England take on West Indies in what assures to be a historic 3-Test series from July 8. The 2 teams will be in action in front of empty stands at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from Wednesday as sport-deprived cricket fans are expected to tune in from across the globe.
Why is the West Indies tour of England significant?
At a time when the sport is coming to grips with monetary concerns, England and West Indies have actually taken a significant step towards return to business. The sporting world was filled with unpredictability when the pandemic forced lockdowns and closure of borders around the world. Lives and incomes were lost and it did not appear cricket would return as early as July.
However, England and West Indies boards have actually ticked the right boxes up until now in making arrangements for the Test series while keeping the security and health of the players and other stakeholders as a priority.
West Indies got here in the UK as early as June and were in quarantine throughout which they were subjected to several Covid-19 tests. They lived and trained in bio-secure bubbles in Manchester. On the other hand, England trained under comparable conditions in Manchester. Fortunately, none of the players from the two squads have checked favorable for Covid-19 up until now.
West Indies players arrived in England as early as June (Reuters Image)
A successful series in between England and West Indies will certainly improve the hopes of other cricket-playing nations to consider resuming activities. Already, Pakistan have actually shown up in the UK and are arranged to play 3 Tests and 3 T20 Is in August-September. England will likewise play 3 ODIs against Ireland before the Pakistan series.
Life in the bubble starts pic.twitter.com/xwisWunmu4
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) June 25, 2020
The winner will be cricket if the England-West Indies series proceeds as planned without significant disruptions.
The brand-new normal: Empty stands, saliva ban, phony crowd sound
Cricket is back however it’s not going to be the very same. Ben Stokes is not going to have the Barmy Army backing him to sew a wonderful 10 th-wicket stand.
Considering the Covid-19 scenario, crowds have actually been prohibited from the 3-Test series between England and West Indies.
Nevertheless, England and West Indies have agreed on the use of phony crowd noise and music to improve the environment in the lack of fans in arenas.
Additionally, physical distancing will be the norm on and off the field during the Test series. The teams will live and train in hotels connected to the stadiums throughout the series to prevent a great deal of travel in the wake of the pandemic.
— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) July 7, 2020
How have England and West Indies prepared for the Test series?
Complete teams for England vs West Indies, 1st Test
England: Ben Stokes (C), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
West Indies are the defending champions of the Wisden Trophy however they have to punch above their weight if they are to keep the prize in England.