Cricket News

Joe Root hopes England will play home Tests against West Indies and Pakistan

England skipper Joe Root has said he is “very optimistic” cricket action will resume in his side’s 2020 home season even if that means the squad have to go into more than two months’ of isolation.

With the country currently in lockdown because of the global pandemic, a three-Test series against the West Indies due to start in June has been delayed, with Pakistan also scheduled to visit later. The England vs Pakistan series has been postponed until atleast July 1.

In an attempt to try and salvage the most high-profile games following a warning from England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison that a totally wiped out season could cost the board £380 million ($469 million, some reports claim that an expanded squad of up to 30 could remain in camp for as long as nine weeks, with Tests contested in empty stadiums.

According to Root, as long as the British government eased lockdown conditions enough for the matches go ahead, some international matches could yet be saved from a likely barren season.

“I’m very optimistic, hopefully that can be the case and it would be a real shame if it wasn’t,” he told the Cricket show on Sky Sports on Thursday.

“I think a number of people are desperate to see live sport back on television and the guys are all very much missing playing and would love to get back out there.” he added.

Root, who saw England cut short a tour of Sri Lanka in March because of the threat of COVID-19, praised the recent input of ECB medics as he stressed:

“Safety is paramount and we need to make sure everyone involved is absolutely safe. I’m sure the discussions will progress and we’ll get more information and get closer and closer to cricket being back on and international cricket being played.”

One way would be to conest all internationals this season at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl and Lancashire’s Old Trafford as these grounds, with their on-site hotels, offer better ‘bio-security’ than other Test match venues.

However, that might could put a strain on players’ private and family lives if they were unable, as is normal in a home season, to travel between games.

Nevertheless, Root who plays for Yorkshire, claims he, his team-mates and family could cope.

“It would be the playing group and management, almost in your own little house, throughout and almost in isolation together, not interacting with the opposition, broadcasting crews, officials or media,” he explained.

“It’d be a very different look to how a normal Test week would go and the environment we work in but I do think it’d probably be manageable and hopefully that’s the case.” Root concluded.

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