CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

No cricket, no problem as fans in for a treat

Ashfaq-Ul-Alam | Published: 22:06, Mar 31,2020

 
 

A file photo from March 9, 2015 shows Bangladesh pacer Rubel Hossain (R) celebrating the wicket of England’s James Anderson during their 2015 ICC World Cup match in Adelaide. — BCB photo

The ever-bustling world of cricket is now at a standstill as every international and domestic competition across the world is either postponed or canceled due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

In this rare barren period, live cricketing action might be ceased but cricket related media and different organisations are coming up with new imaginative ways of keeping the fans engaged in the game and give the people some solace in this time of crisis.

The International Cricket Council, the central governing body of the sport, has taken the chief role, by doing something unprecedented, opening up their archives for the fans and showing complete highlights of different classic cricket matches in their Facebook page.

As part of this initiative, the ICC have shown the complete rerun of the 2014 ICC Twenty20 World Cup final match between India and Sri Lanka on Monday and Bangladesh’s historic match against England in the 2015 World Cup on Tuesday on Facebook, on the anniversary of those matches.

The sight of Rubel Hossain uprooting James Anderson’s stumps to send Bangladesh to their maiden World Cup quarter-final and two Lankan legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara bidding farewell to T20Is with the trophy in hand was once again enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide.

Apart from that, the ICC is regularly posting trivia and quizzes for the fans to answer and asking them to form their dream XI’s and giving the cricket fanatics some food for thought.

ESPNCricinfo, leading cricket news website, has also come up with a unique concept to enthrall their readers in this dull period, by doing ‘Retro Live’ coverage of classic matches.

In this brand-new initiative, Cricinfo is providing their trademark ball-by-ball commentary of the match, doing an in-depth preview before the game and a match report after it, exactly like their usual coverage of live matches.

The first match they gave this treatment was the classic 1992 World Cup final between Imran Khan’s Pakistan and Graham Gooch’s England at the MCG, where two magic deliveries from Wasim Akram powered the South Asian nation their first World Cup trophy.

Next was the 2011 World Cup semi-final between arch rivals India and Pakistan in Mohali, where the hosts kicked out their neighbour to play their third World Cup final, which they eventually won.

Star Sports, a leading cricket broadcaster, took a leaf out of Cricinfo’s book as they also showed highlights of the India-Pakistan semi-final match on Monday from start to finish.

Star Sports would have been telecasting the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League had the not coronavirus outbreak taken place, but are now showing reruns of classic IPL matches.            

The Cricket Australia website did something truly unique by doing a simulation of the final two one-day international matches between Australia and New Zealand, which got cancelled due to the outbreak, and have uploaded a short highlight package of the matches in their website.

The England and Wales Cricket Board on Monday published an open letter from their Test skipper Joe Root and women’s team captain Heather Knight, where they asked every English cricketer itching to get back onto the field to be patient and adhere to the rules of social distancing for the greater good.

Cricketers around the world are also using their social media handles to engage in some friendly banter with fellow cricketers and spreading awareness of the situation.

English cricketers are challenging each other to do different activities while staying indoors, which included Root showing his guitar skills and pacer Mark Wood dancing on his backyard, both videos uploaded in ECB’s official website.

Bangladesh national stalwarts like Mashrafee bin Murtaza, Tamim Iqbal and Sakib al Hasan are advising people to follow the instruction from the government to stop the spread of the virus.

Mushfiqur Rahim, Soumya Sarkar are seen uploading pictures and videos of their indoor workouts, encouraging others also to exercise to improve their immunity.

Bangladesh national team’s former coach Jamie Siddons has also stepped in by providing cricket coaching through an app during this outbreak.

All of these activities can’t replace the thrill of watching live cricket, but in this time of uncertainty they provide some relief to cricket fans around the world.

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