Virat Kohli believes cricket in empty stadiums is a real possibility in a post Covid-19 world. The Team India captain feels it is unlikely to have a bearing on the intensity of the players but the magic would certainly be missing.
Cricket boards across the globe are exploring the option of resuming the sport in empty stadiums. There is speculation that fans could be kept away in a bid to salvage the T20 World Cup in Australia, which is currently under threat owing to the global health crisis.
“It’s quite a possible situation, it might happen, I honestly don’t know how everyone is going to take that because we all are used to playing in front of so many passionate fans,” Kohli said on the Star Sports show ‘Cricket Connected’.
“I know it will be played at a very good intensity but that feeling of the crowd connecting with the players and the tension of the game where everyone goes through it in the stadium, those emotions are very difficult to recreate,” he added.
Kohli’s assertion comes closely on the heels of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) exploring the idea of having the Indian Premier League behind closed doors. The 13th edition of the tournament has been postponed indefinitely and the BCCI is desperately looking for a window between September and October to conduct the much-followed league.
The India captain’s observations in the official broadcasters’ programme has only fuelled such speculation.
India is currently under a lockdown because of the pandemic. The BCCI is eagerly waiting for the situation to improve before it can work on a plan to host the IPL.
Kohli said the many moments which are created because of the passion brought in by fans would be missing. “Things will still go on, but I doubt that one will feel that magic happening inside because of the atmosphere that was created.
“We will play sports how it is supposed to be played, but those magical moments will be difficult to come by,” he said.
Cricketers such as Ben Stokes, Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Pat Cummins have backed the idea of playing behind closed doors. However, former Australian captain Allan Border has said it would defy belief to host a World Cup without spectators.
Stokes’ opinion was sought whether the upcoming England versus West Indies series at home in empty stadiums will lose its sheen without spectators.
“I don’t think so. Think about it, we are walking out to represent our country, three lions on our chest and there is a game that we are supposed to win. So whether it is in front of nobody or like we are used to in front of a full crowd, I don’t think it’s going to take that competitive side away,” Stokes recently told BBC Radio 5 Live.