Sydney: Cricket in front of empty stands came up for discussion between Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon and pacer Mitchell Starc with both wondering how Indian captain Virat Kohli would adapt to such an atmosphere if their Test series this year is held without fans.
India are set to play a four-match Test series in Australia later this year. But with the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc, speculation is rife that the games could be held behind closed doors.
This led Lyon and teammate Mitchell Starc to discuss how Kohli’s on-field demeanour would change without the backing and noise of the crowd, something the Indian captain thrives on.
“He’s probably good enough to adapt to any scenario. But I was talking to Mitch Starc the other day and we actually said that if we are playing with no crowd, it’ll be quite amazing to see Virat trying to rev up the (empty) seats,” Lyon was quoted as saying by ‘cricket.com.au’.
“It’s going to be a little bit different, but Virat is a superstar. He’ll be able to adapt to any climate that we’re able to play in,” Lyon added.
Sports calendars have been shredded worldwide, including international and domestic cricket all over.
Last month, Australia’s ODI series against New Zealand was called off after the first match. The 32-year-old Lyon is still excited by the prospect of the series against India.
“I’m excited about the prospect of India coming out to Australia, it’s up there with the biggest series alongside the Ashes. They’re an absolute powerhouse of the cricket world, and to have those guys out here is going to be fantastic,” he said.
Lyon remains hopeful that the home series will go ahead, with or without fans.
“Playing in front of crowds or no crowds is out of our control, we’ve got to follow the advice of all the amazing medical people around the world. I haven’t thought about no crowds or massive crowds, it’s just about the opportunity of playing against India again,” he said.
Australia tasted their first Test series loss to India on home turf in 2018-19 when Kohli’s men handed them a 2-1 defeat.
However, with the likes of Steve Smith and David Warner, who were under suspension last time, and Marnus Labuschagne, the Australian batting unit seems pretty solid now.
“They had the wood over us last time they came over here but we’re a much stronger Australian cricket side at the moment, and I’m just unbelievably excited about playing them here at home,” he said.
With several series’ being postponed and an already booked Future Tour Program, doubts over the future of the maiden ICC World Test Championship have also cropped up.
India occupies the top spot with 360 points followed by Australia on 296 points while New Zealand are ranked third 180 points.
“I think it’s important that the two best teams over that period compete in the Test championship final, and obviously I want Australia to be there,” Lyon said.
“But that’s a decision for the big bosses of the ICC and everyone else involved, we’ll just have to wait and see,” he added.