While international cricket is on the path to return, the fans are not allowed in the ground due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Pakistan limited-overs captain Babar Azam feels that the international cricket in empty stadiums will bring their experiences in the first-class cricket, which is very difficult to admit.
The novel coronavirus has affected cricket too as the recent cricket events have been postponed since the middle of the last March. However, we are likely to experience some cricket from the early next month as the West Indies will play the Test series against the hosts England from 8th July. The Caribbean team has already landed in the UK, which is finally big positive news in international cricket.
However, the upcoming international matches will be played in empty stadiums, without any cricket fans.
Pakistan team will also tour in England soon for the three-match Test series and three-match T20I series. All these international matches between England and Pakistan can be played in empty stadiums.
It will feel like we are playing a first-class match: Babar Azam about the international cricket matches in empty stadiums
Babar Azam thinks that it will be challenging to play international cricket matches without the cricket fans, which will give them the feeling of first-class cricket.
Azam told Cricbuzz, “It will be very difficult. The fact that there will be no one in the crowd. It will feel like we are playing a first-class match.”
He further added, “It will be difficult as when people are present in the stands, playing cricket is fun. When kids come to watch, they also think and aspire to play at this level. I am sure we will miss these things.”
Observing the present situation, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has just changed some playing regulations for the interim period. While the ICC has now banned applying saliva to the ball, they have also brought COVID-19 replacements for the Test cricket, availability of the non-neutral umpires, availability of an extra DRS review for each team in each innings of a match etc.
While Babar Azam has already led the Pakistan T20I side, he has recently been appointed for Pakistan’s ODI captaincy. Azam is inspired by the former Pakistan World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan.