NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Cricket lost a bunch of games of the year, including the World Cup which had to be postponed, and players were sent to life in “luxury prisons” when the game is still back on its feet with the scarves of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sweet sound of a silent bat meeting ball fell in March as New Zealand renewed the Australian cross-Tasman tournament and Twenty20 Super20 Championship near the end of the industry.
The novel coronavirus revolution brought players in, leaving several cricket boards, including some of the richest, in the red.
Half a dozen test sequences could not be played, creating a calendar logjam and forcing a change on how the final ones for next year’s World Test Championship (WTC) would prove.
The women’s Twenty20 World Cup, won by Meg Lanning in Australia on March 8 before a crowd of 86,000 more fled the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but escaped narrow but the men’s competition was less fortunate.
Even as the pandemic progressed, the International Cricket Council (ICC) waited until July before pushing for the Australian edition of the tournament until 2022.
While the game suffered a rare four-month draw, boards introduced cost-cutting measures to address the financial situation of the pandemic.
Several boards, including Cricket Australia, imposed the lion’s share of their staff, and the England and Wales Cricket Board got rid of what boss Tom Harrison later called “financial control”.
The ECB postponed the first edition of The Hundred tournament, and their players, both men and women, accepted pay cuts.
International cricket finally began after a 117-day hiatus when England hosted the West Indies in a three-match series at biosecurity centers at Southampton and Manchester in July.
This “new routine” of living alone and playing behind closed doors gave the game a template to continue in unique situations.
While the hungry players were immediately relieved, the stress of bubble life manifested itself.
England’s all-round Tom Curran pulled out of the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia announcing fat bubble, days after teammate Tom Banton pulled out of that Twenty20 tournament for the same reason.
“It can be very difficult,” said South African astronaut Kagiso Rabada after experiencing bubble life in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emiratos.
“You can’t interact. You have basically lost your freedom. It’s almost like a prison of luxury, ”said the 25-year-old at a high-profile news conference, another innovation driven by the pandemic.
India captain Virat Kohli said the charge that bubble hop will inflict on a player’s mind should be considered when determining the length of cricket rounds.
“These things need to be thought through.” Said Kohli, who celebrated his 32nd birthday in an IPL bubble.
The IPL succeeded, meanwhile, despite being held in another country and outside the original window by a new title supporter.
However, COVID-19 concerns earlier this month triggered the biosecure bubble in South Africa, forcing England to return home after skipping their ODI series.
Cricket threw its weight behind the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, with several teams taking the knee.
The ICC, which elected Greg Barclay of New Zealand as its new chairman in November, reduced its code of conduct to effectively endorse demonstrations of loyalty for race equality.
Australia began their cricket summer with a ‘barefoot circle’ in Sydney in a powerful stand against racism and the recognition of Indigenous Australians.
At the same time, a relentless campaign in Pakistan to force key teams to take out their security views and tour the country yielded results with England, New Zealand and South Africa promising to visit in 2021.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Edited by Ken Ferris