Levi desperate to get back into cricketing action with Northants

Northants batsman Richard Levi believes it would be a 'massive' boost for cricket if some sort of season can be played out later this summer.

By Jeremy Casey
Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 11:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 11:18 am
Northants batsman Richard Levi
Northants batsman Richard Levi

The 2020 campaign has yet to see a ball bowled in anger due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there are as yet no guarantees that the county season will get underway at all.

As it stands, there will be no domestic cricket played in the UK until August 1 at the earliest, although England are scheduled to play a behind-closed-doors Test series against the West Indies in July.

The England & Wales Cricket Board are still hoping to stage the Vitality T20 Blast as well as a truncated four-day competition in August and September, and there is a board meeting later this week to discuss the latest proposals.

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It is likely those matches would also be played behind closed doors, but there is talk of broadcasting extra matches on TV and also streaming them live online so fans can at least watch come cricket.

Levi, who like the rest if the Northants squad is currently on furlough, feels it is crucial that the sport kicks into life, so as not to lose the momentum that has been built up in the English game in the past 12 months.

Asked how iomportant it is for cricket to be played this summer, Levi said: "It would be massive, and not necessarily just for us as players, but for the fans as well.

"I know they are talking about smaller crowds and limited numbers, and I think the fans are more frustrated than us.

"The lads are all really hard workers, but the county grind can get to players, so a break is always welcome, but not three or four months of it.

"To get some cricket in would be great because the guys are missing the game.

"Any sort of cricket would be good for the game in general, not just for the players.

"England have come off some unbelievable cricket, with the World Cup and the Ashes and whatever else, and you almost don't want to lose that momentum and the love of the game.

"You want to try and hold on to that and keep it in the public eye, that is what breeds the success with all the youngsters coming through."

Premier League football is due to restart next week, with the Championship to follow shortly afterwards, while the Cobblers are set to take part in the Sky Bet League Two play-offs later this month.

The health of the players and club staff has been the priority as football has prepared to return, and it would be the same if cricket was to work towards playing again.

Levi says he would understand if some players had reservations about playing while the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing, and that in the end it will be down to a personal choice.

"I think that might be a personal thing, and I know some of the footballers have come out saying they don't want to risk this and that," said the 32-year-old.

"For me, I am by myself and my contact is less than a per cent of people if I choose to be that way.

"There are others that have young families, or grandparents living with them, or anybody who is in that high-risk group, and for them it might be a different story.

"But at the end of the day it is our job.

"I remember when we went to Bangladesh and Pakistan (with South Africa), you would be told there were possible dangers or whatever, and you had to agree to go.

"That's why some goes decided not to go there, and this is obviously very different, you can't compare apples with oranges.

"But it might get to the stage where, by the time they say we can start, the medical umbrella should be in place, I am sure things will have progressed massively by the time we kick off.

"I think it should be an environment where, if we do the right things, then we should be alright."