World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan says he is open to England fielding two teams on the same day at separate venues if the coronavirus outbreak leads to a compressed home international season.
The England Test team, skippered by Joe Root, could face either West Indies or Pakistan, who are both due to arrive for three-match series, while Morgan’s white-ball side take on Australia in 50-over and Twenty20 matches scheduled in July.
“I see every option being viable during this extraordinary time,” said England limited-overs captain Morgan during a conference call on Wednesday.
“Certainly I’ve never experienced anything like it and I don’t think anyone else has. I think the serious nature of the situation economically and financially for the game is something that we have never come across.”
All domestic cricket in England has been postponed until May 28 at the earliest, with the West Indies series still scheduled to start on June 4.
England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison, announcing a £61 million ($76 million) aid package on Monday, said touring international sides were being “very flexible, innovative and massively understanding”, with Morgan indicating his teammates would adopt a similar approach.
“Certainly from a players’ point of view, we want to do as much as we can to try and keep things going,” Morgan said.
“If there’s an opportunity to play as much cricket as we can, I’d like to think every player would be behind it. I certainly am.
“But obviously times are still uncertain at the moment… Realistically we can’t think about playing, when our first game will be, or how many we will play until the situation is downgraded from a pandemic.”
In a separate interview later Wednesday, Morgan said he would have no qualms playing behind closed doors if that was the only way cricket could be staged, adding games broadcast on television might boost national morale despite the absence of sold-out crowds that often attend international fixtures in England.
“I’ve played county cricket for a long time and Test match cricket in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and that’s the exact same, I’d say,” he said.
“From a very serious point of view, if medical experts advised us it was OK to play behind closed doors and it was on TV, I think that would be a huge step forward for the game.
“Sport can play a huge role in uplifting the world and people’s perspective on things, although he added that cricket “in the grand scheme of things doesn’t matter”.
Meanwhile, Morgan praised vice-captain Jos Buttler’s “incredibly kind gesture” in auctioning the shirt he wore during last year’s World Cup final to raise funds for two hospitals treating coronavirus patients.
One consolation for Morgan during the outbreak is that the 33-year-old Dublin-born batsman recently became a father after his wife Tara gave birth to the couple’s first child, a son named Leo.
“We’ve been isolated for a bit longer than anyone else, which is really nice,” he said. “It’s been good fun and a very exciting time for us.”