BRISBANE: Australia captain Tim Paine will be watching closely when England’s Test series against the West Indies starts on July 8 so he can see how cricket is played in the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’m fascinated to watch some Test cricket again and to see exactly how the series is going to work, and the different things they’re going to be doing,” he said on a video conference on Tuesday. “It’s going to be something we’re watching really closely ... you want to be able to prepare yourself for what might happen.”
Paine said he was not too concerned about empty grounds because he was familiar with that in club and provincial cricket only a few seasons ago.
The series will be the first major cricket since March, when the outbreak began to shutter global sports. Australia aren’t sure when they will play again; its staging of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in October was last week described as unlikely.
“The uncertainty has left the likes of Paine unsure about how much extra off-the-field work he should do. With the bank accounts of national cricket boards emptying and staff let go in the crisis,” Paine joked about having to do extra throw downs during batting practice.
One thing he is sure of, though, is that if and when India arrive for a tour of Australia later this year, Virat Kohli’s tourists will be facing a much tougher home team than the last series Down Under.
Meanwhile, Paine has been disappointed to see support staff lose their jobs as part of cost-cutting measures during the coronavirus crisis but says there is opportunity in the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Australia lost batting coach Graeme Hick and physiotherapist Kevin Sims among 40 redundancies announced by Cricket Australia last week as the board looks to shore up its finances.
Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2020