BENGALURU: Under normal circumstances, India will be busy conducting the IPL matches during this time of the year. But with the COVID-19 outbreak, everything has come to a standstill, forcing the cricketers to stay at home. One does not know when they will be back on the field.
If and when the action resumes after a few more months, cricket might not be the same. The new normal might not see high-fives or celebratory hugs after the fall of a wicket. There is also a possibility of the game being played in front of empty stands in the initial phase.
India's Test vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane, feels a lot of things will change once normalcy returns.
"When we start having matches, the safety of the fans is going to be important. Till we get the vaccine (for COVID-19), we do not know what is going to happen. I don't think cricket on the field will change much. But off the field, we will take safety measures and follow social distancing. Celebrating the fall of a wicket could be a thing of the past. We may stay in our fielding positions, just clap from that spot and celebrate the wicket or do a namaste. A few things will change. You can't take anything for granted," said Rahane, who was named the brand ambassador of the ELSA app, in an online press conference on Wednesday.
The pandemic has also opened debates regarding the use of saliva and sweat by the fielding team to shine the ball. Some also suggested that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should legalise ball-tampering, which is considered illegal at present if players are not allowed to use saliva.
Recently, Kookaburra announced that it has developed a wax applicator to shine balls. The Sanspareils Greenlands (SG), the leading manufacturer of cricket equipment in India, has also started the process to produce a similar artificial substance.
"I do not know what kind of decision the ICC will take on this (use of saliva). You have to wait and watch for this COVID-19 to get over. When cricket starts, we will get to know the rules and regulations," added the 31-year-old.
Like most athletes, Rahane is also happy to spend time with his family during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown. He is doing daily workouts and meditation to be in shape. He said that players need at least a month of the proper training before they play a match.
"As of now, I'm focussing on my fitness, doing my workouts, meditation, and following the plan given by the trainer. We need around three-four weeks of the proper practice session to play any kind of matches. A month or so should be really good."