Cricket, as has life, has had to adapt over the past 12 months to accommodate something no sportsman or woman could see coming, COVID-19. With only a partial season played for most grass-roots cricketer in 2020 it makes you think, could 2021 be any different?
Now I am writing this article as an Englishman and I completely understand that the circumstances others are finding themselves differ depending on where you are located. Just by watching the tv and seeing the iT20 series in New Zealand and seeing full crowds cheering and supporting their national team, makes me feel jealous but somewhat uplifted about the fact we could have a similar summer here with a very busy summer of cricket across the country.
The most interesting part, and the bit I am the most excited about is the potential return of grass-roots cricket. As referred to earlier, we managed a partial season in 2020 and to be honest it was brilliant to don the whites and get out there at any point we could during the summer. The ideas of bring-your-own teas were widely adopted and the standard of sanitising a ball every 6 overs became the norm, despite the not-so-subtle use of sanitiser to doctor and shine the ball… It makes me wonder whether this will continue throughout this cricket season, due to its unrivalled success when comparing it to how other sports managed and the curiously named “natural vector of disease”.
Cricket I think is not only a hobby to some people but is also an escape. It’s not just cricket, sport in general is a way for people to take part in other things and be around other people and in times like this that is so important. Whether you play the sport professionally, or you’re there to have a bit of laugh with some mates while trying to hit a small red ball to a circular rope, there’s always one undisputed fact; it is nice to be out and doing something.
I for one am optimistic about how much we will be able to play in the coming months and am very much looking forward to the possibility of playing again, after what can only be described as an uneventful winter. Whether it is still socially distanced, sanitising the ball after a certain number of overs, or having your own teas, a return to cricket would mean a lot to so many people and would be a great way to spend a summer.
With the brilliant news from the UK government alongside this, with a potential for outdoor sports to be returning within the coming months it really is exciting. It just begs the question, who is going to be your first wicket of the summer?
It isn’t just grassroots cricket too, England have already lined up a hectic summer of cricket, undoubtedly it will rain for the vast majority of it. Starting with a test series against the world number 1s, New Zealand. This could be the first opportunity for a crowd to attend a test match in the UK in over a year, following the latest predictions by the government. This will not only be a great series but could be an invaluable predecessor to the World Test Championship final to both England (if they manage to get there) but also New Zealand as it allows them to adjust to varying conditions in an English summer. Following this, a limited overs series against both Sri Lanka and Pakistan, then another test series against the touring Indians.
International cricket around the world is something everyone is looking forward to; whether its watching the Ashes down under at the end of the year or the first ever international tour of Ireland by the South Africans. There will be something to watch throughout the year whenever you’re awake and that’s an exciting thought after a year where these were getting more and more distant.
There is no disputing there will be a lot of cricket to watch over the summer, whether it be in person or on the TV. It will be nice to have the sport back, in whatever way we get given it but hopefully these unprecedented times will allow a somewhat complete season but there is no doubt; it will rain on the first day of the season…