Cricket Without Fans Not Ideal But Need to Get Used to it: Ian Bell
Ian Bell (© AFP)

England cricketer Ian Bell says a rewatch of the 2005 Edgbaston Test against Australia has reminded him how much of an impact fans can have on the game and the atmosphere surely will be missed once the game resumes behind closed doors.

Various boards across the world are accepting the fact that banning fans from the stadium for the foreseeable future is the only way to ensure a bio-secure environment for any sort of cricket to get underway in the backdrop of coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve had the opportunity to watch some of those great moments from the (Ashes) series in 2005 and what you realise is the importance of the atmosphere and the support,” Bell told the PA news agency.

“You think of that great Freddie Flintoff spell at Edgbaston what would that have been like without the fans and the atmosphere? It’s hard to imagine,” he added.

While playing in front of empty stadiums isn’t an ideal scenario, Bell said players will have to get used to it.

“It’s not ideal to play without the fans, no doubt, but it seems like something we’re going to have to get used to for the foreseeable future. We have to try and get going and if everyone is able to watch at home that’s a great start,” the 38-year-old said.

Bell, who played 118 Tests, 161 ODIs and 18 T20Is between 2004 and 2015, says it will be difficult to maintain social distancing during emotionally charged moment.

“Emotion can get the best of you at the best of times, and certainly when you’re playing Australia,” he said. “It would be a challenge to hold it back and something the lads who go out there will have to try their best to do I would have found it virtually impossible in 2005.”

Bell, who scored over 12,000 runs across formats, says it will be the responsibility of the players to keep themselves under control and observe the guidelines.

“A lot of adrenaline and emotion flies around in international cricket but player safety is going to be the most important thing and it’s something they will have to control,” he said.