Joe Root says quality of cricket and people’s safety cannot be compromised when game resumes

Joe Root says the quality of cricket and people’s safety must not be compromised if England are to play any international matches this summer.

A report in the Guardian has suggested an England squad of around 30 players could be quarantined for up to nine weeks in bio-secure environments in order to fulfil Test series against West Indies and Pakistan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Social-distancing measures could impact how the game is played – including how the ball is maintained – and, speaking to The Cricket Show, Test captain Root said preserving the integrity of the sport is crucial.

“If the game is compromised, it shouldn’t be going ahead,” Root said. “The game itself, the intensity is it played at – if you can’t play Test cricket at it’s absolute best we shouldn’t play it. It’s not a fair reflection.

“There has been talk about changing the ball and different things and it will be interesting to see what you could change to make things slightly safer – hopefully the ball has no seam, doesn’t move sideways and we can whack it to all parts!

“I’d like the think the product itself and the standard of Test cricket would not be compromised to play these games.

“I am confident [there will be Test cricket this summer], I am very optimistic. It would be a real shame if not as a number of people are desperate to see live sport back on the telly.

“The guys are all missing playing and desperate to get back out there but safety is paramount for everyone involved. As soon as that is compromised, this can’t happen.

“One thing made very clear by the ECB to the players, coaching staff and everyone involved is that the safety of everyone is at the front of it all.

“Teams also have to be willing to come here and play – there are so many moving parts.”

England seamer Mark Wood has said he would be willing to be quarantined from family for a lengthy period if it meant cricket could be staged safely.

Root’s wife Carrie is pregnant with their second child and he appreciates the difficulties players could face potentially being away from loved ones.

“It will be a challenge and other guys involved will have similar problems. The wellbeing of players and staff will be factored into any schedules that are made,” said the batsman.

“Whether scheduling allows getting the players in and out of the bubble safely so they can see family we will have to wait and see. I suppose we have to be flexible and move with what’s happening.

“I’m sure it will take seven or eight weeks for a preparation phase to happen so within that space of time, things could drastically change.

“If it was a possibility, could I get to the birth? Would I then be in isolation for two weeks? Would I be able to be tested? Who knows exactly how that would look? We have to make sure there is no chance of anyone getting ill.”

Elaborating on what a ‘bio-secure’ environment may look like, Root added: “The playing squad and management would all be in their own little house, if you like.

“The hotel would be sectioned off and you’d almost be in isolation together – you wouldn’t be interacting with the opposition or broadcasting crews, media, officials. You’d be trying to keep it as tight as possible.

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