Every cricketing nation will have its own problems to solve and has suffered due to the absence of international cricket during the lockdown across the world, says Sachin Tendulkar. In an interview to The Indian Express the batting great talks about how the game could change because of the pandemic and why everyone should chip in.
Do you think sport will be the same again? There is already some talk about cricket and in particular about the use of saliva in shining the ball.
All these things are going to change, without any doubt. Nobody knows how the ball will respond if there is no shining. I don’t think any team has played a game without applying saliva or sweat on the ball. Players will be aware of social distancing and might also be wary of celebrating with high-fives after taking a wicket. What I hear is that stands are likely to be empty when a tournament is played initially. That certainly won’t be easy to adjust for the players as they draw a lot of energy from spectators. We will be needing government clearance on whether it’s safe to play, of course, first. The most important thing is to save lives.
What do you think should be the role of Indian cricket as the future of several cricketing nations looks bleak? Countries like Zimbabwe, West Indies and even New Zealand and Sri Lanka will find it extremely tough to survive this lockdown and global economic crisis.
Everyone has suffered in this. Some have suffered more, some have suffered less. It would be appropriate if BCCI answers this question and not me as I don’t know what BCCI’s capabilities and capacity are at the moment. Each country will have its own problem to solve, not only in cricket but overall. After all, BCCI is India. I am sure they (BCCI) will be open-minded in helping other countries if they approach them.
Should the BCCI, with a cricketer as president, play a big role in leading cricket’s global fightback?
If you look into other boards, cricketers are in different positions. This is not a cricketing decision; cricketing decisions are taken on-field. This decision is more humanitarian. I am sure rest of the board members will have their views and they too want to help. I feel, at this level, whether you are cricketer or not, at this moment everyone will help. He (Ganguly) is board president and it has nothing to do (with) whether he has played cricket or not. He will take this call as board president.
Not just foreign cricketers, even Indian domestic cricketers might suffer if the money goes out of the game.
Yes. A solution will have to be found. I think right now nobody is thinking about it, everyone is thinking about beating the virus. But I am sure India will be in a position to help and they too want to help.
(Roger) Federer, (Rafael) Nadal and (Novak) Djokovic have spoken about helping tennis players who are not among the top 100 and are struggling to survive. Do you think even cricket needs to initiate a dialogue like this?
Everything is up to individuals there (in tennis). Here the rights and whatever it is, there is a board. I think players can manage up to certain extent. I don’t know about tennis and what they are looking to do. Each sport or each country will have its own challenges and we would try and help. I am sure BCCI will be in a position to help our cricketers.
Do you think eventually a few top countries will continue to play cricket but mostly franchise cricket will grow more?
Franchise cricket will grow because of its T20 version, the version which is popular among most of the families. T20 is something one can take their family to and the game is over in three hours. Slowly, the game is moving towards that direction.
Are you a bit scared like the rest of us about this virus?
I think it’s good to take all possible precautions. If one is negligent or has an attitude of ‘nothing can happen to me’, that is how it happens. That attitude is unacceptable to me. It is better to be safe than sorry. It all comes down to hygiene. As a UNICEF ambassador, I have been telling people how important it is to wash hands. My company has planned how to continue helping people. And not only till this coronavirus, people have problems at other times as well. I don’t want to stop, I want to help people until my last breath.
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