After more than two months of no action at any level of the sport, cricket has finally resumed on earth in the form of Vincy Premier League, a T10 franchise-based cricket tournament comprising only six teams. The tournament began on Friday and will continue until May 31 at the Arnos Vale sporting complex near Kingstown at the main city on St Vincent.
Although a low-key tournament in the cricket calendar, the tournament did garner some observers given that it serves as sort of a testing tournament before international action resumes across the globe. Teams like England and Sri Lanka have already resumed outdoor training while ICC has issued a fresh set to guidelines for cricket resumption in post-COVID-19 world.
The no saliva rule and social distancing were among the norms followed during the T10 league in West Indies. The entry and exit of players happened separately. Umpires, wicketkeepers and even groundstaff who entered the field during drinks break, were all spotted wearing masks. Also, as per the ICC rules, the players did not hand over their gloves or personal items to the umpires while bowling.
Besides, sanitising stations were set up near the boundary ropes to disinfect the ball and temperature monitors were set alongside it to keep track of players going near it.
Players also refrained from handshakes or hi-fives during celebrations and hence brought about leg-shakes and punching the ground. But what stood out the most was when Dark View Explorers' Denson Hoyte injured himself while fielding. The players maintained social distancing and the medical staff too did not come on the field. Hoyte eventually got up and moved out of the field.
Despite less number of coronavirus cases registered in West Indies, there were no fans at the venue even though local boy Sunil Ambris was part of the playing XI.
"The St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association would have preferred an option of a limited number of spectators, maybe 300 or 500 max in the stadium; however, the experts expressed some initial concerns," president Kishore Shallow, who is also the vice-president at CWI (Cricket West Indies) told the VPL website. "They [sic] advised that we attempt to regularise the management of players before we consider having spectators."
Well, commentators did mention that few spectators might be expected in the forthcoming days.
Vincy League provides a perfect platform for ICC to retrospect the guidelines issued by them. England are already eyeing a July return while Sri Lanka look eager to host India and Bangladesh in July.