Coronavirus: Mark Butcher says behind-closed-doors cricket would still present problems

Mark Butcher says playing cricket behind closed doors during the coronavirus pandemic would still present difficulties.

The ECB is pondering installing coronavirus checkpoints and isolation units at grounds this summer as way to potentially resume the game without fans present.

But former England and Surrey batsman Butcher told Sky Sports News that the safety of the players could be tough to ensure.

“Behind closed doors is not ideal. The TV audiences would obviously be huge, but you have to think of the safety of the people playing the game,” said the Sky Cricket expert.

“Is it realistic to expect a cricket team who spend an awful amount of time in a dressing room to be far enough away from each other to keep up with the advice? My answer would be no.

“I have been in millions of cricket dressing rooms and none are big enough to swing a cat, let alone give people two metres distance.

“We are just going to have to wait and see. It is impossible to speculate as to whether there is going to be any international or county cricket as things stand at the moment.

“We don’t know whether hosting sporting events behind closed doors or in front of fans is going to be viable in a couple of months.

“As much as it is a day-by-day process for everyone in this extraordinary time, you want to be positive and keep having things to look forward to and cricket tours are very much looked forward to by players and fans.”

England’s three-Test series at home to West Indies is scheduled to begin at The Oval on June 4 but that looks in jeopardy with there to be no professional cricket in the country until at least May 28.

West Indies had reportedly offered to host the series in the Caribbean but Butcher feels that is unlikely having chatted to Jonny Grave, the CEO of West Indies cricket.

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