Slowly and very surely has cricket started off on the road to resumption.
Among the worst hit nations in this pandemic has been England with their domestic season as good as over. However, the ECB has also been one of the first boards to try and resume cricket, calling upon their bowlers to resume training. The ECB announced that up to 18 bowlers will be involved from Thursday across seven venues before batsmen and wicketkeepers become involved from June 1.
The novel coronavirus brought the sporting world to a screeching halt, but May has brought about some positivity with sport returning under watchful eyes. Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen believes that even though the players will want to play, resumption should only go ahead once everyone’s safety is assured.
“Cricket is a part of the world’s entertainment package in so many countries just like football, rugby and tennis. So when it gets back it will get back okay and players will want to play but it’s going to be different as players will be playing behind closed doors,” Pietersen said.
“But it should only return when it’s safe to do so, the players’ safety, the administrators’ safety, people at the ground; everyone must be safe and comfortable.”
It’s has been a roller-coaster ride for English cricket in the last twelve months with the World Cup triumph at Lord’s followed by a keenly contested drawn Ashes, two Tests against New Zealand and then the tour of South Africa, the last being a landmark tour for captain Joe Root according to Pietersen.
“Root did not have the best Ashes but he had a wonderful tour of South Africa and he really got himself together. The team understood him and he made great changes. He was awesome.” Pietersen who was among those with reservations about the leadership, said.
“As a broadcaster I was incredibly proud as to how he led that tour after coming under lots of scrutiny at the start.”
England won the South Africa Test series 3-1 and Root won over some of his critics.
However, an injury to their 25-year-old fast bowling sensation Jofra Archer raised plenty of questions about the England management. Archer bowled 42 overs in the first innings of the first Test against the Proteas; more than Stuart Broad has ever bowled in a single Test innings.
Pietersen, who made his Test debut in the famous Ashes series win of 2005, has voiced concerns about the England pace bowling battery which is led by the veteran duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad and suggested making Archer the focal point.
“Jofra Archer’s schedule’s going to have to be looked at and he is also going to have to be protected.”
“Archer needs to be spoken to in a manner of which what do you want to play and when do you want to play how do you want to play because you want him bowling 95 mph ever single session. You don’t want bowl him 25 overs a day in a Test, maybe 15 overs odd and really get the best out of him.
“In ODIs and T20Is he’s a superstar so you don’t need to worry about him.”
While Pietersen hopes that England can take of Archer properly, he has been heavily invested in animal conservation and highlighting the plight of the rhinoceros. His charity, Save our Rhino Africa/India (SORAI), will be relaunched towards the end of June and he hopes to be able to help navigate through the human-wildlife conflict problem across the globe.
“We need to respect and understand that climate change needs to be looked at and we need to look at endangered species and poaching needs to stop. We are getting too big as a population and eating into the wildlife space. So at SORAI we will be looking at such matters in the not too distant future,” Pietersen signed off.