STUART BROAD: Credit to the ECB for putting players and the fans first

STUART BROAD: Credit to England. They made a very tough but necessary decision and put the players and the fans first

  • It was an eerie feeling when Joe Root revealed the tour of Sri Lanka was off
  • The atmosphere around coronavirus has been quite different in Sri Lanka 
  • It can’t have been easy, with all the financial aspects of a tour, to make the call 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

It was quite an eerie feeling on Friday when Joe Root addressed us as a squad to let us know that the tour of Sri Lanka was off. Out there we felt quite a long way from the levels of worry in England.

Obviously we had been kept up to date with what was happening back home via social media and it was quite surreal to see people fighting over loo roll in the supermarkets.

The atmosphere has been quite different in Sri Lanka because there have not been as many cases of coronavirus, so although as a squad we have instigated social spacing, and have been very careful, we have not witnessed any of the changes in daily life that have perhaps occurred here. Not felt any of the hustle and bustle.

It was an eerie feeling when Joe Root informed the squad that the tour of Sri Lanka was off

The mood changed within the past three or four days, though, with the spread seemingly gathering pace and sporting events increasingly coming under threat. Naturally, during this time, a lot of questions started being asked.

There were a lot of ‘what ifs’ from the players’ point of view.

What would happen if one of us got it? The whole squad would have to go into 14-day quarantine. What would happen if a family member fell ill at home, and we had been in quarantine overseas? 

That would have meant no way of getting back to them. What would happen if one of our supporters got it and it then started spreading through the rest of the fans? There were an estimated 3,000 set to travel.

Over the past couple of days it has almost been as if the world has started to realise how serious this really is, and started shutting down things.

The mood in the team changed within the past three or four days after coronavirus spread

The NBA was called off, the Melbourne Grand Prix was called off, golf’s Players Championship was called off. Suddenly, it was like ‘wow.’ These major worldwide events were being postponed and there was a feeling within our group that we ought to think about where we stood.

Thankfully it did not come to that. The call came from the top, whether from Tom Harrison, or Ashley Giles, or others in the hierarchy at the ECB. They made a very tough but necessary decision and credit to them for putting the players and the fans first.

It can’t have been easy, with all the financial aspects of a tour like this, and ultimately we want to be playing cricket for England so we were sad to be leaving.

Despite the disappointment, though, the right decision has been made and we all look forward to coming back and completing this series at some stage.

When that will be, who knows? Cricket schedules are already pretty densely populated with fixtures and squeezing it in somewhere will not be easy.

It can’t have been easy, with all the financial aspects of a tour like this, to cancel the series

An idea: it might not be possible to return for a whole month to fit the two Tests in as we had planned at this time, but they could possibly be tagged onto the end of the tour of India in early 2021.

Theoretically, they would need to be completed by around this time next year to count towards the final standings of the World Test Championship, the final of which is scheduled for June. Arguably, we could come back to play back-to-back matches. That would make seven huge Tests for England at the start of 2021.

Of course this is all speculation but you would think it would be hard to fit them in any time before the Twenty20 World Cup this October and November.

This is a time of uncertainty across all sports, though. We just don’t know what is going to happen with the Premier League, with the County Championship and with the home Test series versus West Indies in June. Quite frankly, no one knows what is going to happen in the next two weeks.

Schedules are densely populated with fixtures and squeezing it in somewhere will not be easy

We have been told to have a couple of easy days once we get home and continue with the social spacing we have employed on this tour. We will continue to train despite the uncertainty of not knowing what the start of the English season might look like.

At Nottinghamshire, the players have been training in a heated marquee preparing for the county season and so I would imagine that unless someone within the group, or their families, gets infected that would continue for a period of time.

Today we are flying back into a country that is quickly going to realise what life is like without sport.

It’s going to be very strange for a few weeks, as it affects a lot of people, but sometimes things are bigger than sports. This is a worldwide pandemic that needs acting upon very quickly.

It was a necessary decision though to protect not just the players but the fans as well




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