London: Former England batsman Ian Bell says playing cricket behind closed doors is "hard to imagine" and "not ideal" but players will have to get used to it for the foreseeable future.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had to suspend all cricket activities till 1 July due to the coronavirus outbreak and the governing body is now looking to resume the game this summer behind closed doors.
Bell said it is hard to imagine playing without spectators.
"I've had the opportunity to watch some of those great moments from the (Ashes) series in 2005 and what you realise is the importance of the atmosphere and the support," he told the PA news agency.
"You think of that great Freddie Flintoff spell at Edgbaston what would that have been like without the fans and the atmosphere? It's hard to imagine.
"It's not ideal to play without the fans, no doubt, but it seems like something we're going to have to get used to for the foreseeable future. We have to try and get going and if everyone is able to watch at home that's a great start."
High fives, ruffling of bowlers' hair, hugs and embraces are part of on-field celebration and Bell said it will be difficult to maintain social distancing during those triumphant moments.
"Emotion can get the best of you at the best of times, and certainly when you're playing Australia," said the 38-year-old.
"It would be a challenge to hold it back and something the lads who go out there will have to try their best to do I would have found it virtually impossible in 2005.
"A lot of adrenaline and emotion flies around in international cricket but player safety is going to be the most important thing and it's something they will have to control.
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The ECB has issued a statement saying Stokes had been cleared by its medical team to resume training following his leave to mentally refresh and undergo a second operation on his fractured left index finger.
Smith acknowledged Stokes' presence would be a huge boost for England, who enter the blockbuster series as underdogs after repeatedly failing to fire Down Under.
The five-Test Ashes series will start in Brisbane on 8 December before moving to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and ending in Perth.