England have set blueprint for rest of the cricketing world to follow, claims Chris Silverwood
The England and Wales Cricket Board pulled out all of the stops to get the international game back up and running inside bio-secure bubbles at the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford over the past three months, successfully staging all six of its planned series.
As it stands, the men’s side have no more fixtures officially into their schedule but with the ECB blueprint providing the basis for other boards to work from, there is growing optimism that some sense of normality could return to the schedule – albeit with empty grounds likely to become the norm.
Talks are ongoing behind the scenes but a best-case scenario would involve England fulfilling a white-ball tour of South Africa from late November, then holding a training camp in the United Arab Emirates ahead of a rescheduled two-match tour of Sri Lanka and a lucrative Test series versus India.
The latter trip could also be relocated to the UAE, as the forthcoming Indian Premier League season has been, but the once distant prospect of a packed playing calendar is back on the agenda.
“It’s been successful here and if we can do it so can other countries. Getting cricket on everywhere around the world is what we all want,” said former Yorkshire pace bowler Silverwood.
“We’re learning every day of how we deal with Covid and hopefully if we continue to do that we’ll play.”
If the schedule does unfold according to plan there are likely to be some tired bodies and minds, particularly for the nine players who were due to board a charter flight to Dubai for the IPL.
Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, Tom and Sam Curran, Chris Jordan and Tom Banton are all heading out to play for franchises in the T20 tournament, with Ben Stokes’s status uncertain as he spends time with his sick father in New Zealand.
The competition is due to conclude on November 10, leaving precious little time at home for those who have already spent much of the last four months penned in at cricket grounds.
Silverwood can see the benefit, particularly with T20 World Cups coming up in each of the next two years, but says: “The more high-class T20 they can play will be a good thing for us.”
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