Coronavirus: Behind closed doors England games could lift nation, says Morgan

By Sports Desk April 01, 2020

England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan believes international cricket taking place behind closed doors during the English summer could be good for the nation's morale.

Morgan and his team-mates are, like most other elite athletes around the globe, in a state of flux at present as the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic have the knock-on effect of bringing sporting schedules to a halt.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has postponed the start of its domestic season until May 28 and on Tuesday announced a £61million relief package to help the game withstand the financial impact of coronavirus.

England have Test series planned against West Indies and Pakistan over the coming months, with the latter joining Australia in facing Morgan's side in white-ball series.

Morgan joked that playing before empty stands would not be much different to some of his experiences in the County Championship, but he feels televised sport could provide a rallying point for the general public.

"I've played county cricket for a long time and I've played Test cricket in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s the exact same, I would say," said the 33-year-old, who also underlined his intention to skipper England at the next two T20 World Cups, even if this year's edition in Australia is postponed.

"From a very serious point of view, if medical experts came and advised us that it was okay to play behind closed doors and it was on TV, I think that would be a huge step forward for the game.

"Sport, I think, could play a huge role in uplifting the world and people's perspective on things.

"Isolation encourages idle minds and I think sport can create that theatre and level of expectation around what it's like to be outside again and be active.

"If it came to it, I think it'd be a huge step forward."

Asked whether such events would be good for morale in the country, he replied: "Yes, I think it would."

An enforced lay-off has been usefully timed in one respect for Morgan, whose wife gave birth to the couple's first child, Leo, three weeks ago.

"We've sort of been preoccupied with looking after the baby," he said. "We've been isolated for a bit longer than everyone else.

"I've been bunkered away for a while and haven't been under pressure to go off and play cricket, which is really nice.

"In between that reading some books, watching some TV shows. Sleep, but in very short periods."

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