Empty venues will remind players how important fans are: Archer

Updated May 14, 2020

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Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - England Nets - Merchant Taylors School, Northwood, Britain - June 23, 2019   England's Jofra Archer during nets   Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - England Nets - Merchant Taylors School, Northwood, Britain - June 23, 2019 England's Jofra Archer during nets Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

LONDON: England speedster Jofra Archer says piping in music or crowd noise would help cricketers get used to playing in empty venues during the Covid-19 pandemic but the experience will show just how crucial fans are to the game.

The England and Wales Cricket Board is scrambling to salvage a coronavirus-wrecked summer as it prepares to host a three-Test series against West Indies in July, possibly behind closed doors and at ‘bio-secure’ venues.

“It will be hard to play in a stadium without supporters but I understand it is necessary for things to start that way as we won’t be able to test every single fan wanting to come into the ground,” Archer wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“I think it will be one of those things you don’t realise how much you need until it’s gone. Take it away, and we will realise how much the supporters mean to us.” India captain Virat Kohli said last week playing in empty stadiums would take the ‘magic’ away from the game and Archer said some adjustments would have to be made.

“Playing in complete silence will take some getting used to...so I think it might be useful to play some music, some simulations of a crowd, something to create an atmosphere,” said the Barbados-born quick.

“The best solution, if we do have to play behind closed doors, might be to have cheers and clapping when someone hits the ball for four or a wicket falls.

“These are the little things that will make it as normal as possible even though it won’t be a normal occasion.”

An elbow injury saw Archer ruled out of England’s tour of Sri Lanka and this year’s IPL, though both were eventually postponed due to the global health crisis.

“I’m not really sure how my elbow is as yet,” he said.

“I guess I’ll have to bowl seriously to really find out. It feels fine after a lengthy period of rest but I’ve not done anything of any kind of intensity as yet.”

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2020