Test cricket is set to resume, but it will have a whole different avatar, something that fans and cricketers are yet to be accustomed to. The coronavirus pandemic has brought the global sport to a halt in March and there were fears that this three-Test campaign might also fall victim to COVID-19.
Now, with a whole new set of guidelines, English pacer Mark Wood said the environment, “feels a bit like a sci-fi movie” with players subjected to repeated health checks.
“There is hand sanitiser at every turn, and on the floor there are arrows, lines and footprints to show the way to go,” Wood added.
He revealed meal times were “like being back at school”, with players at individual desks “looking at the back of the person in front”.
But perhaps the most visible change will be the lack of any spectators. However, with the West Indies agreeing to go ahead despite Britain´s virus massive death toll, one of the highest in Europe, the series will mark cricket´s return from lockdown instead.
Both teams are also staying at on-site hotels at Southampton´s Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford in Manchester, the venue for the second and third Tests, for the series originally scheduled for elsewhere in England in June.
A number of anti-virus measures mean next week´s match will not look like few others in the 143 years of Test-match history.
Players will be barred from using saliva to shine the ball. The series will also take place against the backdrop of recent worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, with both teams set to have a BLM logo on their shirts.
But amid all the changes which include a provision for virus substitutes if required, there will be a return to cricket´s past.