India head coach Ravi Shastri believes that should cricket resume, bilateral/domestic series should take precedence over ICC or other international events so that it allows players to gain some momentum upon their return to top-flight cricket.
Shastri’s comments come in the wake of the ICC seriously contemplating the future of the much-anticipated T20 World Cup later this year in Australia and the coach reckons it is better to give cricket a push at first suggested resumption of the game by taking one step at a time if and when the authorities give the go-ahead.
“No matter how big or accomplished a player is, it’ll take time to get into the groove once again, regain that ball sense, find your feet out there in the middle – no matter who you are. Not just cricket, but in any sport, that’ll be a challenge and it’s only natural,” Shastri told Times of India.
“I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on world events right now. Stay at home, ensure domestic cricket comes back to normal, cricketers at all levels – international, First Class, etc – all get back on the field. That’s the most important bit. Second: Start with bilateral cricket. If we (India) had to choose between hosting a World Cup and a bilateral tour, obviously, we’d settle for the bilateral. Instead of 15 teams flying in, we’d settle for one team flying in and playing an entire bilateral series at one or two grounds.”
The last cricket match played before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the game to a grinding halt was an ODI between Australia and New Zealand at an empty Sydney Cricket Ground. A big concern remains the IPL, which has been postponed indefinitely by the BCCI until further notice and Shastri is keen to see the T20 tournament take place on priority if things are to get back on track.
“In that sense, what India’s lost out on is domestic cricket – the Indian Premier League (IPL) for instance. When cricket resumes, we could give the IPL a priority,” Shastri said.
“The difference between an international tournament and the IPL is that the IPL can be played between one or two cities and the logistics will be easier to manage. The same thing with bilaterals – it’ll be easier for us to tour one country and play there at specific grounds than 15-16 teams flying in during these times. The International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to look at this objectively.”