Impractical to play cricket with masks?
Former Pakistan captain and current coach Misbah-ul-Haq has caused a stir by suggesting that cricketers should play the game with a mask. However, the suggestion is not practical, according to Ian Pont, the former fast bowler, who has played 28 First Class matches in England.
"I don’t think it is practical to play cricket in masks. My own view is if players are pre-tested for COVID-19 and are clear, the staffs and admin around the team are also tested and clear, then there should be no reason to wear masks", speaking exclusively over telephone from England, where Pont is running a fast bowling academy (Mavericks Cricket Institute), said.
"The masks are more for a person spreading the virus than catching, it as I understand. This is because the virus is not only airborne".
However, he added: "In a ‘bio-safe’ environment, where everyone is free of the virus and all the facilities have been previously deep-cleaned, there would literally be no one to catch it from or nowhere that would be unsafe. This would be the way I would get cricket back as soon as possible. It would mean then we would at least have matches - despite being behind closed doors initially.”
"I am certain the public and players, teams and boards, would prefer cricket to be played safely than to have none at all", Pont who had been a national coach with several teams, further added.
Interestingly, the first use of face masks was done by the Sri Lankan team three years ago in India but that was for the pollution reason.
Sri Lanka's team manager then and the member of the 1996 World Cup winning team, Asanka Gurusinha also agrees with the Pont's views.
Only good to stop spread of virus
Speaking exclusively from Australia, he said: "Mask is only good to stop the spread of Covid 19. It won’t stop someone getting the virus. The best way to go about is what is happening currently in Australia with Rugby League and Australian football league. Players went to a hub 2 weeks ago and every player is tested twice a week until the season is over. Cricket will have to do similar things before starting. This means players will not be able to go home and see family for a while. All cricketers will have to sacrifice a lot if cricket is going to resume.”