Adapt, play in empty stadiums to help cricket survive, says NZ all-rounder
New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham. Pic/AFP
With cricket’s finances taking a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham says cricketers will have to “adapt” to playing before empty stadiums to save the sport from financial ruin.
Both Cricket Australia and the England & Wales Cricket Board that drive the sport’s economy along with India, fear they could face a severe financial crisis due to postponement of events leading to loss of revenue.
Elite-level cricket looks unlikely to resume soon and the T20 World Cup (October-November), is uncertain. “If the situation is that the only way to play cricket is behind closed doors, I think it’s something we have to adapt to as players,” Neesham told ESPNcricinfo.
In April, CA had announced retrenchment of 80 per cent of its staff, even as players from both countries braced up for pay cuts. Considering the extraordinary situation, Neesham, 29, said, “The reality is that it is a huge financial challenge for a lot of cricket boards to still run without any revenue coming in from games.
“So obviously, we want to try and keep the sport in as good a state as it can be in. If that means playing games behind closed doors, the guys just need to suck it up and get it done.”
Fans and frolic
The New Zealander, however, added nothing can beat playing in front of fans. “All things considered, you’d rather have fans in the ground. It adds a lot to the game and to the spectacle. But you want to adapt to the situation that is given to you,” he said.
The pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province, has led to either cancellation or postponement of all sporting events worldwide, including the Tokyo Olympics.
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