'It will feel like a first-class match' - Babar Azam on the prospects of playing international cricket behind closed doors

‘It will feel like a first-class match’ – Babar Azam on the prospects of playing international cricket behind closed doors

Babar Azam was recently handed over the captaincy for the Pakistan ODI and T20I sides.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Newly appointed ODI and T20I captain of Pakistan, Babar Azam recently talked about the changes in cricket when it will start again after the COVID-19 threat is dealt with. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many cricket matches have been cancelled or delayed. However, there is positive news in regards to international cricket. England will soon play West Indies in a three-match Test series at home. Pakistan are also expected to go for their England tour.

However, for now matches will be played behind closed doors. No crowds will be allowed for the Test series in England which will get underway on July 8. Talking about the upcoming developments, Babar said that it won’t be easy for the players to adjust to the new atmosphere. He said that playing in front of empty stands will be equivalent to playing a first-class encounter.

When kids come to watch, they also think and aspire to play at this level: Babar Azam

“It will be very difficult. The fact that there will be no one in the crowd. It will feel like we are playing a first-class match,” Azam was quoted as saying during an interview with Cricbuzz.

The 25-year-old batsman then went on to point out that not being able to shine the ball is something which isn’t good for bowlers. The Lahore-born also opined that when kids come to watch matches, they aspire to become cricketers and play the sport. The last international match, which was an ODI match played at Sydney, also didn’t have any crowds. Australia and New Zealand played that match inside an empty SCG.

“You won’t be able to shine the ball as per ICC guidelines. It will be difficult as when people are present in the stands, playing cricket is fun. When kids come to watch, they also think and aspire to play at this level. I am sure we will miss these things,” he added.

The new Pakistan captain also talked about his captaincy being inspired by Imran Khan. The batsman had said earlier that he wants to lead his country as the 1992 World Cup-winning captain did.

“I haven’t seen him (play) much but I have heard a lot. I have obviously watched the highlights of the 1992 World Cup and other games. The way he used to take bold and brave decisions (on the field) was quite inspiring and he used to lead from the front” Azam said.