Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop feels the upcoming Caribbean Premier League (CPL) could provide a boost to cricketing countries that aren’t economically robust, if the tournament goes off smoothly.
Bishop, a well-regarded commentator around the world, contrasted how the CPL would have to ensure biosecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic and how the England and Wales Cricket Board was doing it, in the series against West Indies and the ongoing one against Pakistan. He held that while the ECB’s resources made a biosecure environment feasible, if players took responsibility and ownership, then countries and boards without similar resources could also have a pathway to re-starting cricket.
“Firstly, the economic resources that England and the broadcasters put into that West Indies-England Test series and the Pakistan one that’s going on now is significant,” Bishop said during a press conference organised by the ICC following the worldwide premiere of its documentary Beyond the Boundary. “I don’t think there are too many other countries that will have the resources to do it like that because you’ve got two grounds where hotels are actually on the ground.
“There was one ground – Southampton, where the first match was played – I could have a snooze in my room and wake up and walk ten yards down the corridor and go towards the commentary box and go back to my room, and sleep in between stints if I wanted to. I don’t know if there’s any other ground that has that facility globally. The planning that went into it…The players did not leave the bubble – the West Indies team anyway for almost a month before and a month during the series. So, there are only a few boards that can economically reproduce that.”
Bishop, who is in Trinidad to commentate on the CPL, elaborated on what needed to be done in the tournament.
“Another testing ground is where I am now. I am sitting in the Hilton in Trinidad where our CPL T20 is going to start next week,” he said. “We don’t have as many resources, economically, to put into it, but our folks have been brilliant in utilising the hotel and the staff, the protective forces in carrying out this bubble so far. We still have a month to go, but the end of that month, we will know even better how teams and countries and boards without the economic advantage can carry this out safely.
“So this [the CPL’s bubble] is another reason research and development project. And if we can do it here in Trinidad, I promise you that anyone else in the world can do it because we are doing it without the millions of dollars that other territories may have, so keep an eye on the Hero CPL and if we can do this properly, it will be great.
“The players have to take responsibility, they have to take ownership of this, discipline themselves and mentally steel themselves in this new normal about staying away from the public and doing things responsibly.”
Bishop felt that with two series being held in England, women’s cricket could resume too.
“Now the women’s game and the administrators can look at this without endangering anyone’s lives and say, ‘Ah, we can play cricket safely.’ So now is the time to get back on the bicycle and start putting things in place because I don’t know the women’s game can continue to be as inactive as it has been. We must now look to drive it forward, even if it’s for bilateral tours because we know we can do it safely.”