‘Need to prioritise popular & most lucrative forms of the game’: Why every cricket board needs to listen to Nasser Hussain’s advice for ECB
There is a reason why former England captain Nasser Hussain is held in such high esteem when it comes to views about the game. Hussain, who represented England in 96 Tests and 88 ODIs, has had a successful stint as a cricket pundit post retirement from the game. With cricket facing a lockdown, just like every other sport, in these times of the coronavirus pandemic, the focus for the administrators of the game will now be on charting a roadmap for the future.
Sports in modern times is a huge money spinner and the absence of it is going to hurt financially. It will hurt the boards, the broadcasters, the players, the staff and eventually the viewers. Answering questions on the future course that the England and Wales Cricket Board might have to take to minimise damages, Hussain told Daily Mail that the board needs to focus on more lucrative forms of the game in order to make up for this period.
“If and when cricket does come back this year, it has to prioritise the most popular and lucrative forms of the game, whether that’s internationals, Twenty20 Blast or the Hundred, because the game is not well enough off to do anything else.
“If that means the County Championship is put on the back burner, so be it. There will just need to be common sense decisions made to get as much cricket in as possible and to play as late as possible in the summer and even early autumn,” Hussain said.
Talking about the anxieties faced by professional cricketers, Hussain said it is natural to be scared but professional players are mature enough to deal with the situation.
“This is going to hurt the coffers hugely — but hopefully we can all get through it and come out the other side without losing any counties. Cricketers will of course be worried about their salaries and whether they are included in the Government’s bail-out scheme but they are a pretty mature bunch.”
Asked if playing behind closed doors could be an option for future, Hussain suggested that fans will be more than happy to watch matches on TV and if and when the option is available, matches should be played. But top priority should be safety.
“In the wider scheme of things sport is of course irrelevant and there are far more important things to worry about at this time, but it’s amazing how big a role sport plays in so many lives and we want sport back as soon as possible.
“So, if we could give fans something to watch then fine but it would have to be when it is absolutely safe to do so because it would only take one player to contract the virus and it would all be shut down again quickly,” Hussain added.