Islamabad: When cricket resumes, no team will be better prepared for playing in front of empty stands than Pakistan.
Pakistan did it for more than 10 years until last year.
The United Arab Emirates became Pakistan's home away from home after the 2009 terrorist attack against the Sri Lanka team convoy in Lahore. No teams were willing to go to Pakistan to play a Test until Sri Lanka last year in Rawalpindi.
“It’s ironic that we played our home cricket in front of almost empty stadia for 10 years and now the world is heading in that direction," Pakistan limited-overs captain Babar Azam said on Monday in a video news conference. "No team knows what it feels like playing in front of empty stands more than Pakistan.”
Babar was keen to learn the fate of the T20 World Cup in October and November in Australia when the International Cricket Council meets next week.
Babar said he's praying he can lead Pakistan into a world tournament for the first time, and not too fussed if it can go ahead without spectators.
“If the world will never be the same again (after the coronavirus), how can playing and watching be the same? Let’s understand and quickly embrace this,” he said.
What worried him most about live cricket without spectators was that he believed it will hurt the game's development.
“I fear for the growth and development of cricket,” he said. “It’s a serious issue for me if no youngster will watch his heroes live in action.”
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Among US regions, the most comfortable attending a sports event were people in the Midwest at 47% with those in the South and West at 42% and those in the Northeast at 34%.
The coronavirus caseload has been on the rise in the country with more than 70,000 new infections reported in the country on Thursday.
Babar hit 122, his first T20 international century, as Pakistan chased down a challenging target of 204 with two overs to spare.