The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in some talk around India’s tour of Australia later this year, consisting of four Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is being played in front of empty stands.
Given how inspirational it can be to have your fans behind you at a turning point of a game, how much could this affect the matches?
Think back to Headingly 2019, when Ben Stokes single-handedly took the game away from Australia, or when Joe Root was riling up the strong English contingent at Newlands earlier this year. Without the crowd support, would either of these games have gone the way they did?
Test Cricket is not only about how good of a player you are, but how well you can deal with other influences, like the crowd.
A player like Steve Smith for example, used the constant boo’s from the crowd to his advantage in the Ashes of 2019. He used the crowd to spur him on. If there had been no crowd, would he have had as much motivation?
One of the best things about watching Test Cricket is the crowd. Seeing a packed house, all there for the same reason, because they have a love for the game. A full house brings the vibe, the atmosphere, it brings the game alive.
A crowd is by no means essential to a Cricket game being played however, as we have seen in Pakistan’s “home” Tests in the UAE, where they play with almost zero crowd attendance. Despite a lack of crowd, the cricket is still exemplary.
For a Boxing Day or New Years Test however, I can’t quite imagine an empty ground. Those are Tests full of tradition and history. They deserve to be watched.
Each and every one of us needs to do our part to ensure we stay home during the lockdown, so that this virus does not have a chance to spread. Only then will we get our cricket back.