Authorities should focus on domestic and IPL cricket once lockdown ends, according to India coach Ravi Shastri.
Speaking to Times of India, Shastri said he wouldn't give priority to world events given the situation as it was easier to put domestic and bilateral cricket back on track.
There is one big world event planned this year - the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November.
"I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on world events right now," he said. "Stay at home, ensure domestic cricket comes back to normal, cricketers at all levels — international, First Class, etc — all get back on the field. That’s the most important bit. Second: Start with bilateral cricket. If we (India) had to choose between hosting a World Cup and a bilateral tour, obviously, we’d settle for the bilateral. Instead of 15 teams flying in, we’d settle for one team flying in and playing an entire bilateral series at just one or two grounds."
Shastri called on the International Cricket Council to look at things 'objectively', stressing India should focus on giving IPL a priority.
“In that sense, what India’s lost out on is domestic cricket — the Indian Premier League (IPL) for instance," he said. "When cricket resumes, we could give the IPL a priority. The difference between an international tournament and the IPL is that the IPL can be played between one or two cities and the logistics will be easier to manage. The same thing with bilaterals — it’ll be easier for us to tour one country and play there at specific grounds than 15-16 teams flying in during these times. The International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to look at this objectively."
Although there's no sport currently, Shastri said he's still busy coordinating with support staff and other teams in BCCI through the day. He observed that it would take time for players to get back to the game immediately.
"No matter how big or accomplished a player is, it’ll take time to get into the groove once again, regain that ball sense, find your feet out there in the middle — no matter who you are. Not just cricket, but in any sport, that’ll be a challenge. It’s only natural," he said.
"They’re going to be tough times because it’s next to impossible to keep an international sportsperson — used to hours of training and playing the sport — in complete lockdown".
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