London, May 5 (IANS) Even if cricket is played behind closed doors, the competitiveness will not be lost, feels star England all-rounder Ben Stokes.
Asked whether the upcoming England and West Indies series at home will lose its charm if held in empty stadiums as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) mulls the option for some time, Stokes told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I don't think so. Think about it, we are walking out to represent our country, Three Lions on our chest and there is game that we are supposed to win.
“So whether it is in front of nobody or like we are used to in-front of full crowd, I don't think it's going to take that competitive side away.”
Stokes opined that cricket on television is the best option for the time being as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
“We would do anything to get cricket back on TVs, and people, who follow and watch. If that means playing in-front of nobody then so be it,” he said.
Stokes, who helped England win the 2019 World Cup and starred in the Ashes, said it will, though, take some time to adjust to playing in front of empty stands.
“Yeah, completely different scenario to get our heads around that there isn't going to be the atmosphere or cheering (of supporters) when we play international games,” said the 28-year-old.
Stokes added that safety of the people remains a priority.
“We are still not hundred percent sure when that's going to happen. Everybody's concern at the moment is safety and well being of everybody.
“Players and ECB are not going to push anything until everybody is satisfied, without being having to worry about whether people are going to be exposed or put in danger to anything,” said Stokes.
“At the end of the day, cricket is just a sport and its the safety, health and wellbeing of everybody involved, not just in the team but around cricket community is important right now.”