England’s World Cup-winning all-rounder Ben Stokes believes cricket will not lose its competitive spirit if it is played behind closed doors and says he wouldn’t mind international cricket becoming a ‘TV only sport’ till the Coronavirus pandemic is under control. Expressing his opinion on whether the upcoming England-West Indies series at home would lose its sheen if played behind closed doors, Stokes said he won’t mind if action unfolds in empty stadiums. Also Read - MP Newly-Wed Couple Along With 105 Guests Quarantined After Bride's Relative Found COVID-19 Positive
ECB is contemplating cricket without live spectators for some time. “I don’t think so. Think about it, we are walking out to represent our country, three lions on our chest and there is a game that we are supposed to win. So whether it is in front of nobody or like we are used to in front of a full crowd, I don’t think it’s going to take that competitive side away,” the 28-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live. Also Read - Bangladesh to Resume Domestic Flights From June 1
The England all-rounder, however, admitted that it will take some time to adjust to the possible scenario after being used to playing in front of capacity crowd. Also Read - Sonu Sood Airlifts 170 Girls Working as Labourers at a Factory in Kerala, Sends Them to Odisha
“Yeah, completely different scenario to get our heads around that there isn’t going to be the atmosphere or cheering (of supporters) when we play international games,” said the 28-year-old Stokes, who has played 63 Tests, 95 ODIs and 26 T20Is.
For Stokes, cricket on TV, for the time being, is the best option. “We would do anything to get cricket back on TVs, and people, who follow and watch. If that means playing in-front of nobody then so be it,” he said.
However, Stokes maintained that the safety and well-being of everyone remains a priority.
“We are still not a hundred percent sure when that’s going to happen. Everybody’s concern at the moment is safety and well being of everybody,” he said.
“Players and ECB are not going to push anything until everybody is satisfied, without being having to worry about whether people are going to be exposed or put in danger to anything,” England’s World Cup hero said.
“At the end of the day, cricket is just a sport and its the safety, health and wellbeing of everybody involved, not just in the team but around cricket community is important right now.”