England-West Indies Test Series Will be a Litmus Test For Cricket Amidst Coronavirus Scare, Says Shaun Pollock
Shaun Pollock (© AFP)

Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock reckons that the upcoming Test series between England and West Indies will be one of the most watched in recent times and also serve as a litmus test for how cricket can proceed safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

All competitive cricket has been brought to a halt due to the ongoing health crisis and the West Indies tour of England will mark the return of international cricket next month.

“I think it’s (Eng-WI) gonna be probably the most watched Test series in a very long time because people are being starved of the game so they’ll be very keen to get out there and watch some Test cricket again. I think it will be a bit of a litmus test to see how things can unfold and how things can be managed to make sure that there’s no issue,” Pollock said during an interview.

Cricket will resume with several changes made necessary due to the coronavirus scare. Among them is the hotly debated ban on applying saliva on the ball which Pollock feels is the right decision.

“For many years, people have used saliva but they’ve also used sweat,” he said. “But in the current pandemic, with saliva, there is a risk that if a ball gets hit to the boundary and it may be thrown back by a guard who hasn’t been tested, there could be something that goes on to the ball and then you put it in your mouth and you could end up with Covid and the whole Test series can be called off. So, for me, it does make sense.”

Another major decision of the ICC Technical Committee which Pollock wholeheartedly agrees with is allowing local umpires to officiate in international matches

“Someone from India to be able to stand in a Test in Kolkata or someone from England to be able to stand in a home Test, Englishman, at Lord’s or an Australian at the MCG, we’ve always been fighting for this in the committee so I think that’s a good change,” the 46-year-old said.

“Now with the DRS, you can send things upstairs. In the old days, maybe they were worried about biased decisions, but I think that’s a thing of the past so that’s a nice change in the right way,” he added.

On the latest 3T Cricket format of Cricket South Africa, the former allrounder said, “The idea is to try and incorporate three teams of 8. People have two innings and you get to compete, and it almost gives you an opportunity to come back, so it is something that they are looking to try.”