Eoin Morgan: Cricket behind closed doors could help coronavirus fight

Eoin Morgan captained England as they won the 50-over World Cup for the first time last summer
Eoin Morgan captained England as they won the 50-over World Cup for the first time last summer

Cricket played behind closed doors during the coronavirus pandemic could be a "huge step forward", says England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan.

The English game has been suspended until at least 28 May but playing internationals without spectators is being considered.

Morgan said the move - if deemed safe - would benefit the country.

“Sport could play a huge role in uplifting the world and people’s perspective on things,” he said.

England's three-Test home series with West Indies is due to start at The Oval in London on 4 June.

Three Twenty20s and three one-day internationals against Australia, three Tests and three T20s against Pakistan and three ODIs with Ireland are all scheduled to follow before the end of September.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said the inaugural edition of the The Hundred, set to run from 15 July to 14 August, should be postponed rather than played behind closed doors this summer.

But Morgan said: “Sport can create that theatre and that level of expectation around what it is like to be outside again and to be active.

“If it came to it [playing behind closed doors] I think it would be a huge step forward.”

‘Players really want to help’

Morgan has been isolating at home after his wife gave birth to their first child three weeks ago.

“I’m actually loving life being at home,” he said.

“As a cricketer travelling round the world, being in hotel rooms – I am pretty used to being in one space.”

He also said players were open to helping fight the coronavirus “in whatever way possible” and praised the “incredibly kind gesture” of team-mate Jos Buttler, who has put his shirt from the 2019 World Cup final up for auction to raise money.

“His shirt will go for a lot of money and it should do, but the gesture within itself to aid new equipment that can be bought is absolutely outstanding,” Morgan said.

On Wednesday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced proposals that would see some staff take pay cuts of up to 25% and others placed on furlough to cut costs during the crisis.

The ECB, who pledged £60m of support to counties and clubs on Monday, has held no formal discussions with centrally contracted England players over taking a pay cut and the players have been told their contracts will be honoured in full.

The Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) said talks regarding how the players can "best support their employers, the game and the country" are ongoing.

“Players as a whole really want to help – the thing we can’t answer at the moment is where and when we can help,” Morgan told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“If we take a pay cut – does it make a difference?

“For the moment, the season is only postponed for a couple of months – no international cricket is affected. In the coming weeks, things could change again.”

He added: “It is certain as players we are open to helping in whatever way possible. We want to hopefully make an impact.”