Coronavirus has destroyed the international and domestic cricket calendar with several bilateral tours and tournaments cancelled, creating a domino effect on the Future Tours Programme. The entire situation is akin to the second World War when everything came to a standstill. We explore what sort of challenges will organisers have to face once this pandemic is over.
Administrators will need to combat with unique logistical challenges as they would have to make sure to prevent the spread of the virus once the numbers of infected cases drop down drastically and sports activities will be given clearance by respective governments of all cricket boards. Stadiums being a vulnerable place will require greater safety measures so until a vaccine is made, the transmission chain is effectively broken.
The asymptomatic carriers will pose a real threat as they could easily go unnoticed. Moreover, demographic analysis is going to be crucial in deciding when is the appropriate time to allow fans enter a particular stadium because fans can be careless especially when it comes to subcontinent but that might not be the case in a place like Down Under or England where spectators would be more vigilant in terms of self-quarantining in case of having any symptoms of COVID-19.
Everybody involved with the game will need time to recover from the trauma post coronavirus devastation. It is certainly taking a toll on our psyche as we are confined to our homes and engulfed in fear of contracting the disease. Thus, once this disease is controlled; players, fans, officials, umpires and the entire cricket fraternity would need some sort of counselling to go back to normality.
There will be players who may pull out of certain series and may not visit some places. In addition, players who hit a purple patch with the bat or had a dream run with the ball may struggle to maintain the same form they had in pre-pandemic time. It could be frustrating to lose so much match practice and being deprived of an opportunity to cash in on their form.
Do note, cricket was always meant to be enjoyed with a raucous atmosphere in stands and so in an environment where fear isn't overcome, the whole idea of conducting sports events is moot.
With several bilateral tours and, cricketers' favourite T20 leagues are thrown into cold storage, a massive adjustment of cricket calendar would be required to restart action. It now appears that the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be postponed even further and it would be a major headache to schedule it before the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia that is scheduled in October which, come to think of it, is also in jeopardy of being delayed.
Major planning, settlements with the broadcasters and lengthy negotiations among the boards and International Cricket Council (ICC) will be required to amicably resolve potential disputes.
Things are already heating up as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) aims to host the Asia Cup in Pakistan having been denied of an opportunity to host many major tournaments over the last decade and now with the entire PSL being held in Pakistan, there is no solid reason to deny hosting rights. West Indies tour of England and then Pakistan tour of UK is under threat of being cancelled or pushed forward and it's the same story for the remaining teams' schedule.
As boards incur financial loses due to suspension of all cricket events, a feud among the boards once the crisis ends is on the cards. Bangladesh tour of Pakistan for one Test is out of the window while IPL organisers are losing their mind over the postponement and possible cancellation of the most celebrated T20 league. After World Cup 2019, enthralling Ashes fiesta and the action-packed T20 leagues, it would be such a damp squib to see more events being called off this year.