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Monday May 11 2020

No option left but to resume play behind closed doors: Azhar Mahmood

Former bowling coach Azhar Mahmood. Photo: Reuters

Former bowling coach Azhar Mahmood has said that he was not in favour of play behind closed door but felt that it was necessary if cricket was to resume anytime soon, Geo News reported.

Mahmood said that playing in a crowdless stadium would be "boring" and recalled his experience of performing in front of a packed audience. Regardless, he said that cricket needed to return to the field as soon as possible in order for cricket boards to generate some revenue.

"Players are like artists and they want people to cheer for them and cricket without spectators will be boring for them. There is no harm for the time being once things are better then crowd can return to the stadiums. We can have initial games without a crowd," he said.

"From my personal experience when I used to play for Kent, there would be 5,000 people at stadium. When I was part of the IPL, there were 35,000 people and when I returned I started missing that environment. It does have an important impact on players’ thoughts,” he highlighted.

He said that the cricketers should use the present lockdown around the world as an opportunity to visually re-analyze their games and improve their standards.

Mahmood was in favour of banning the use of saliva and sweat to shine a ball but stressed over the need of a substitute which could be used in place of it.

"It is important to protect your players during this health crisis," he said.

"If you can’t shine ball with saliva or sweat then there should be a substance prepared by ball manufacturers and that should be allowed to use to shine the ball. Ball manufacturers should know what is best because it is important for keep balance between ball and bat."

Furthermore, he said that players needed to use this time to analyse their game and improve it. He said that their performance may be affected negatively when they returned to the field and thus should make the most of this opportunity.

"Sometimes a break can help you understand your game as you get the opportunity to learn from what you did and could improve the standard of your game," he said.

"Players need to visualize their training and planning how to play any bowler or face any batsman. This break will provide players an opportunity to learn from themselves. They can watch their videos and analyse where they went wrong and identify areas where they need to improve."