NEW DELHI: India captain Virat Kohli believes cricket will be robbed of its “magical moments” if games are forced into empty stadiums when the sport emerges from its pandemic lockdown.
“It might happen. I honestly don’t know how everyone’s going to be able to take that, because we are used to playing in front of so many passionate people,” said the star batsman.
“It will be played at a very good intensity, but that feel of the crowd connecting with the players, everyone feeling that tension around the stadium, those emotions are difficult to recreate,” he told the Star Sports television channel.
The coronavirus pandemic has halted all major sports and cricket is suffering without its cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) which should now be reaching its final stages.
“We will play the sport how it’s supposed to be played but those magical moments would be very difficult to come by,” Kohli said.
Some European football leagues are already making plans to restart in empty stadiums.
But the IPL has not announced its intentions and there are now major doubts on whether the Twenty20 World Cup will start in Australia in October.
The International Cricket Council has said it is “exploring all options” for the tournament.
Australia’s wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey, who was to play for the Delhi Capitals in the IPL, said it would be a “hollow feeling” if games are played in front of empty stands.
“Cricket as we’re used to is going to be different for a bit. There’s the T20 World Cup and the IPL that we’re all looking to play, but it’s hard to picture anything without the fans,” Carey said in an instagram session with Delhi’s official website.
“It’s going to be a hollow feeling, but I feel the fans will at least have some live cricket to look forward to on TV.”
Australia batsman Usman Khawaja, meanwhile, said that playing against India behind closed doors in the much-anticipated test series at the end of the year might end up being an advantage for the home side.
“It’s definitely an advantage” he told Fox Sports News with a laugh on Saturday. “I remember the last time they came over for a one-day series, the roar for India was much bigger.
“Especially in Melbourne, the amount of expats they have over there, they flock in. And when India’s on top they really let you know it.
“It’s a really weird feeling. When you’re in India, you expect to be outnumbered massively but you can be outnumbered in Melbourne, as well as Sydney to some extent also.”