Cricket News

IPL should be played first, World Cup can wait: Ravi Shastri

India head coach Ravi Shastri has said that the Men in Blue will prefer to play bilateral cricket over T20 World Cup when action resumes following the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

The former cricketer-turned-comemntator added that he wouldn’t want to put too much focus on major ICC events at this time, given the risks involved with travel, especially when close to 15 sides could partake in such events.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought sports and normal life to a standstill all throughout the world. The sporting calendar has taken a massive hit and cricket is no exception. There is uncertainty over the premier tournament of the year — the T20 World Cup scheduled to be played in Australia from October 18 to November 15.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been suspended until further notice as the tournament missed the April-May window due to the pandemic.

Cricketers across the globe are spending time in lockdowns imposed to limit the spread of the virus and Ravi Shastri believes domestic cricket should be prioritised when restrictions ease out in the coming days.

“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,” Ravi Shastri told The Times of India.

“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.”

Stressing that IPL can be played in fewer cities than what it takes to host a global tournament, Ravi Shastri said India can ‘give IPL a priority’.

“In that sense, what India’s lost out on is domestic cricket – the 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 ICC needs to look at this objectively.”

Only on Thursday, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal said that players can begin individual outdoor training post May 18 if the government eases restrictions due to the lockdown. Dhumal also said that the apex body has a proper roadmap for players after the lockdown is lifted in the country.

Ravi Shastri believes that even the best in the business are going to need time before they get back to routine after the lockdown.

“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. It’s only natural,” he concluded.

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