Will the Cricket bubble burst in 2021?

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International cricket found its way through this year’s coronavirus pandemic, but the thrill of bubble life was evident towards the end of 2020. The Women’s Twenty20 World Cup, won by Australia in front of a crowd of over 86,000 people on March 8, escaped the devastation of Covid-19, but the men’s game soon came to a halt during an Australia-New Zealand run. In a perfect summary of the reverse cricket year, India eventually went to Australia and was eliminated for 36 in a humiliating first Test defeat.

After the March lockdown, international cricket, supported by revenue from broadcasts of tours and tournaments, did not resume until the England West Indies test series in July.

In that month, the International Cricket Council also announced that it was delaying this year’s Men’s World Twenty20 in Australia until 2022.

The England West Indies series, played at the ‘bio-secure’ locations of Southampton and Manchester, set a template for cricket in the midst of the pandemic and spared the England and Wales Cricket Board, one of the richer national governing bodies, of a crippling financial situation. touch.

But the ECB still delayed its new domestic Hundred tournament, a competition of 100 balls per side for men and women, as it announced 62 layoffs and pay cuts for players.

The ECB is also predicting a loss of more than £ 100 million ($ 135 million) this year, possibly rising to £ 200 million by 2021.

The West Indies won the first Test but lost the series.

Along with Pakistan, another financially poorer world cricket leader, the West Indies spent much of 2020 on the road, with the two teams traveling to both England and New Zealand.

West Indian captain Jason Holder, who played in another bubble during a lucrative Indian Premier League moving to the UAE for health reasons, expressed the stress of cricket in incarceration.

Room is getting smaller

“From bubble to bubble, isolated in a chamber, sometimes the chamber gets smaller and smaller by the second,” Holder said after the West Indies second defeat in two innings in New Zealand earlier this month.

Meanwhile, England’s Tom Banton and Tom Curran both withdrew from the Big Bash League in Australia after mentioning bubble fatigue.

In December, England ended their tour of South Africa after breaking their hotel bubble.

Michael Vaughan called the decision “alarming,” with the former England captain writing in the Daily Telegraph: “I am concerned that in the future it will only be the rich countries that can play cricket in bio-secured bubbles.”

But Judge Zak Yacoob, Cricket South Africa’s interim chairman of the board, criticized “a clumsy story that comes out that Third World countries cannot properly manage these things.”

England and the West Indies took the knee in response to the global Black Lives Matter protests against racial injustice.

Holder, however, was among those who criticized the ECB for giving up the gesture during the subsequent series against Pakistan and Australia, with Australia instead opting for a ‘barefoot circle’, in solidarity with Indigenous Australians, at the start of their home season. .

In November, the ICC elected a new chairman in Greg Barclay, with the New Zealander questioning the future of a World Test Championship, with the inaugural edition’s points system having to be changed after several series fell victim to Covid-19.

Pre-pandemic fears that compressed tour schedules would affect the balance too heavily in favor of the home side were again highlighted by India’s collapse to their record-high total in an eight-wicket defeat to Australia in the first Test in Adelaide on Saturday, albeit fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood performed excellently against a match that had made 244 in the first innings.

While Pakistan overcame long-standing security challenges to convince England, Australia and New Zealand to tour the country in 2021, the year ended when fast bowler Mohammad Amir announced his international retirement in protest at his “shabby” treatment.

Amir was one of the most exciting players in the world of cricket when he was banned for five years after being involved in a repair case during the 2010 Lord’s Test.

The culmination of his return came when he took three wickets when Pakistan defeated arch-rival India in the 2017 Champions Trophy final.

Promoted

Amir’s admirers hoped his international retirement would be short-lived, despite the 28-year-old saying he had been “mentally tortured” by team management.

But what kind of world game he could return to remained to be seen.

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