The great Eduardo Galeano, in his masterpiece 'Football in Sun and Shadow', wrote that "playing without their fans (club fans) is like dancing without music". According to the Uruguayan, players knows it is 'player number twelve' who stirs up the winds of fervour. Galeano wrote about the beautiful game, but his words ring true for sport across the board.
Alas! When this book was published twenty-five years back, 'New Normal' was not yet a watchword; otherwise Galeano may playfully have added something about accepting a match without fans.
Under the circumstances following the Covid-19 pandemic, fans have already welcomed the return of football behind closed-doors. And cricket fans' wait will end today when England and West Indies lock horns in the first Test. There will be no entry for fans, but 'live cricket' after such a long break will definitely be a breath of fresh air for cricket crazy fans all over the world.
"What a relief. How long can you only reminiscence? You feel bored when you live life looking back at the past. Just think, for the past few months we seemed to become so old. We were only talking about our pasts. Who actually lives life only depending on their past memories (laughs)?" former Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar said.
Regardless of the fact that cricket is going to return thousands of miles away, it will provide fresh entertainment for cricket lovers in Bangladesh. "The return of cricket will just inject some fresh air. Now we can talk about some 'live cricket'," added Bashar.
For Bangladesh ODI captain Tamim Iqbal, the England-West Indies series means a lot, especially in bringing confidence back to cricketers.
"It's a very positive sign that cricket is going to return on the field. The successful conclusion of the series will help players all over the world overcome the fear factor which has been created due to the coronavirus. The important part is how one can control everything. We are waiting to see how everything is managed during the series. If everything ends well, it will provide confidence to players all over the world," Tamim said.
Tamim was excited that everyone can now talk about live cricket instead of constantly strolling down memory lane, but he will only be fulfilled when he can step onto the field.
"No doubt, it's refreshing as cricket is returning to the field. But as a player, the fulfilment only comes when I can play," added the left-handed opener.
In the end, when the England and West Indies players walk out on to the lush Ageas Bowl pitch today, it will originally be back to a 'life of cricket'.