Former India captain Rahul Dravid feels the ambition to resume cricket in a bio-secure environment is “unrealistic”, giving a thumbs down to the concept primarily floated by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Seeking to restart its cricket season after weeks of inactivity owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECB recently announced that it would have in place bio-secure venues to host Pakistan and the West Indies later this summer.
But batting great Dravid is not convinced with the concept.
“It is a bit unrealistic to have things at the level, the ECB is talking about. Obviously, the ECB is very keen to conduct these series because they have had no other cricket…,” Dravid said during a webinar conducted in support of YUVA, a non-profit organisation.
“Even if they are potentially able to create a bubble and manage it in that way, I think it will be impossible for everyone to do it with the kind of calendar that we have, with the travelling that you do on tours and the number of people involved,” he added.
Not just the ECB, even South Africa has suggested that the scheduled tour by India can be tried out in a bio-secure environment.
“All of us are hoping that things will evolve with time and get better once we have better medication.
“In case of the bio-bubble, you do all the testing, the quarantine and then on day two of the Test match, what if one player tests positive? What happens then? The rules, as they stand now, will see the Public Health Department coming in and putting everyone in quarantine.”
That will mean an abrupt end to proceedings in the Test match.
“…that ends all the expenses that were made to get everyone there and create that environment.
“We’re going to have to work with the Health Department and Government authorities to find out a way in which even if a player tests positive, the whole tournament isn’t cancelled,” Dravid, who heads the National Cricket Academy, added.
Cricket, like all other global sports, has come to a screeching halt owing to the pandemic that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province. Players have been confined to their homes due to the lockdowns enforced to contain the pandemic.
“At a professional level, players will adjust and not let it affect their performances much. A professional, once he or she gets on to the field, has a lot of pride in oneself.
“So they will find a way to deal with that. But the experience at the end of the day is not going to be the same.”
He said sportspersons will definitely miss the experience of performing in front of packed stands if sport goes behind closed door.
“Players love to perform in front of a crowd, engage with their fans and that adds incredible complexity to a sport. I think that’s what a player will definitely miss. There is a personal self-satisfaction when you perform in front of a large crowd.”
Dravid advised the players to only focus on things that are within their control, like ways to regain their skills after such a long and unforseen hiatus.
“As sportsmen, we are used to dealing with a lot of uncertainty during our careers. Everything doesn’t fall into place. You tend to get scared and worried about stuff but I think one of the things that I would have done is think about things I can control.
“All you can control is your preparation, practice, emotional and mental well-being. You cannot control your results or performances…maybe it would take a bit of time to catch up to their original skill level. But that won’t take long. It is just like riding a bicycle.