Coronavirus pandemic: Australia coach Justin Langer says empty stadiums an option on resumption

Written by Vishwas Gupta

Australia coach Justin Langer says playing cricket without fans in the stadiums is an option worth considering if it helped get the game going again after the worst of the coronavirus crisis has passed.

As with most sports, efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have forced the shutdown of cricket around the world and Langer thinks teams would be keen to play in empty stadiums upon resumption if the alternative was a longer furlough.

“When you started off playing underage cricket, there’s no crowds there,” the Western Australian told BBC radio.

“Maybe your mum and dad came and watched, or your brother and sister were bored and playing on the swings somewhere else.

“You played it because you loved playing the game, you loved playing with your mates and you loved playing the game.”

The Australian team had the experience of playing behind closed doors in the opening match of their most recent ODI series against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 13.

The final two matches in Sydney and Hobart were scratched as measures to control the spread of the coronavirus took hold, while a return series in New Zealand was also cancelled.

The most obvious benefit of getting games underway again would be in providing broadcasters with content and so easing the financial strain on the game.

Cricket Australia have delayed the announcement of their contract list for the next year and test skipper Tim Paine said last week the players were braced for pay cuts.

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Vishwas Gupta