The latest Test series to be postponed has cast further doubt on the staging of the final of the inaugural World Test Championship final at Lord’s next summer. Australia’s two-match series in Bangladesh, scheduled for June, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. This makes it the second Test series to have been pushed back indefinitely due to coronavirus, which has claimed 101,000 lives out of a global tally of 1.6 million cases.
England returned home from Sri Lanka last month after their two-Test tour fell victim to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, and now Cricket Australia and the Bangladesh Cricket Board have mutually agreed to postpone their proposed series with the global healthcare crisis nowhere near ending.
And with England’s three-Test home series against West Indies – slated to begin on June 4 – also looking very unlikely, the dilemma for the ICC and the sport’s top cricket boards is how to reschedule the series effected by coronavirus.
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The Pakistan cricket team is scheduled to play England in England from July, but with that series also in doubt, Pakistan’s Test captain Azhar Ali and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq have urged the ICC to extend the World Test Championship.
As per the current WTC standings, India lead the table with 360 points from nine Tests. Australia are second with 296 from ten, followed by New Zealand (180), England (146), Pakistan (140), Sri Lanka (80) and South Africa (24). West Indies and Bangladesh have zero points.
In a crammed cricket calendar, how can the ICC and the various boards possibly manage to reschedule all the postponed series as well as the ones most certain to be effected?
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The inaugural WTC is due to run until June 2021, with the final stated to be held at Lord’s next summer. As things stand today, it is near impossible that this will proceed as planned because of the level of uncertainty over COVID-19 and the lack of a vaccine.
Add in the amount of ODI and T20I fixtures slated under the ICC’s FTP, as well as the number of global T20 leagues to be played, and the chances of the World Test Championship final taking place next June are very slim. The world has been shaken to its core by coronavirus, and sport has become irrelevant as we know it.
There is talk – not just in cricket, but across global sports – of games being played indoors, in empty stadiums. But the likelier truth is that we will not see sport being played until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. Let that sink in. It stings, yes, but we are in the midst of a pandemic the likes of which have not been seen for 80 years.
It may take many months, perhaps even a year or more, until a vaccine for coronavirus is developed and distributed across the world.
Until then, we can only fall back on our memories of cricket. We can compile our lists and best XIs, rewind to unforgettable matches on YouTube, swap memories and anecdotes on Whatsapp and have a crack at online quizzes. It’s going to be a long haul, friends, so buckle down.
Your favourite sport will return, of that there is no doubt. So hold onto the memories tightly.