NEW DELHI, April 30 (Reuters) - Playing cricket without spectators, should the need arise, would not be a totally new experience for any player who has risen through the ranks, according to India test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.
Playing behind closed doors has been suggested as one way to resume professional cricket, which has been suspended over the novel coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions it has forced around the world.
Among those affected is this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), which was scheduled to begin on March 29 but has been postponed indefinitely, delaying Rahane’s debut season for Delhi Capitals.
“COVID-19 pandemic has taught everyone that unexpected things can happen,” Rahane said in an Instagram Live session with the franchise’s official handle.
“As for IPL or any other sport, I feel it could be played without spectators. All of us have played domestic cricket in almost empty stadiums, so that’s an experience all cricketers are used to.
“We are nothing without our fans, and that’s why their safety is of utmost importance. Even if they get to watch some live action from home, I am sure that will be an enjoyable experience as well,” said the 31-year-old.
“The safety of fans is key, and if we need to play in empty stadiums for that, we are open to do it.”
Rahane, a key cog in India’s middle-order batting, is particularly looking forward to playing under Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting.
“I used to try to copy his batting and fielding styles,” he said of the former Australia captain.
“I’m really looking forward to working under him. I’m sure he will help me immensely in my batting as well as overall leadership.”
Confined indoors, Rahane is working on a childhood hobby to maintain his fitness.
“I’m trying to revive my karate skills, something that I pursued as a child. It definitely helps me in maintaining my agility and fitness, and I am enjoying it a lot.” (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi Editing by Robert Birsel)