Cricket Expert & Columnist
Nasser Hussain says England and West Indies won't be too affected by no crowds in Test series
"It's about the bowlers, really. That's why England have picked a large training squad as in back-to-back Test matches the likes of Mark Wood and James Anderson will be rotated"
Last Updated: 03/06/20 1:46pm
Nasser Hussain says England and West Indies' players are unlikely to be too negatively affected by having no fans in attendance if their three-Test series takes place as planned in July.
Hussain says small crowds are not alien to either set of cricketers and believes their biggest issues will be "training their brain" not to shine the ball or mass celebrate wickets and coping physically with a tight schedule of three Tests in 21 days.
England vs West Indies schedule
- July 8 - first Test, Ageas Bowl
- July 16 - second Test, Old Trafford
- July 24 - third Test, Old Trafford
"There will be a slight effect but a lot of these players would have played in venues where there aren't any crowds in England domestically and they have been to the UAE [to play Pakistan] where there is not much of a crowd," the former England captain told Sky Sports News.
"And, I'm afraid, unless England are in town and hoards of fans go over, West Indies at times play in front of low crowds. It's not ideal but they have no other choice. They will have to create their own atmosphere.
"Some of the stuff they have trained their brain for 10 years to do, shining a cricket ball, celebrating a wicket, will be the difficult thing for them.
"They are used to putting saliva on a cricket ball and can't do that anymore, so they will have to re-train the brain.
"England will be ready, they have been back training. Batsmen will get throw-downs in the nets, but it's about the bowler physically.
"That's why they have picked a large training squad as in back-to-back Test matches the likes of Mark Wood and James Anderson will be rotated, to make sure they don't go from four months off to playing every single day. They need to be looked after whether in times of coronavirus or not."
Hussain also saluted the ECB's clear communication as they strove to get the series - postponed from its initial June slot due to the pandemic - going ahead and West Indies for their willingness to travel.
"Fair play to West Indies. For them to jump on a plane in less than a week's time and come over is a really good effort from them. The ECB has also been phenomenal all the way through," added the Sky Cricket expert.
"They have stuck very closely with government guidelines, kept everyone informed, from players to broadcasters and worked with the broadcasters, Sky in particular, over what a bio-secure environment will be like, not only for players but management and broadcasters. Fair play to the England players as well for really buying into it.
"I think everyone is really excited for the return of live sport as there are only so many highlights and re-runs you can watch. We have tried our best at Sky Cricket to do some fun watchalongs but what people want is some live sport where you don't know what the result is going to be.
"There are still some caveats in there. We still need the next level of Government clearance with an overseas side coming over and staying in a hotel but hopefully, if there is no second spike, that will be a formality."