NEW DELHI, June 28: Spectators certainly add to any high octane contest but the entertainment value of any sport can only be determined by its quality as the English Premier League has shown since its resumption amid the COVID-19 pandemic, feels fast bowling great Michael Holding.
International cricket will be resuming with the much-awaited Test series between England and the West Indies at the Old Trafford from July 8 in a �bio-secure� spectator-less environment.
Will cricket in the COVID-19 times be devoid of fun and entertainment with fans being kept away?
�Entertainment in any sport is determined by the standard of play in that sport and not by what is happening in the stands,� Holding, one of the most respected voices in world cricket, told PTI in an exclusive interaction.
Holding, who spends most of his time in the UK, gave an example of how the quality of EPL�s games didn�t take a hit despite matches being played in front of empty stands.
�Crowds are very important to add the atmosphere but like football, that has restarted in the UK, the entertainment has been the standard of football played,� Holding said.
While the whole world is debating on the ban on saliva to shine the ball, one of the greatest of all time believes that it won�t be that big a problem.
�As I have said before, I don�t see the ban on using saliva being a problem. Perspiration does the same thing unless the polisher has something other than just saliva in his mouth,� Holding said, possibly referring to the sugary candies or mint that fielders use to make the saliva heavy.
Asked if the economic implications of COVID-19 will hurt Test cricket in coming days as boards might be inclined to play more white-ball bilaterals, he answered in negative.
�I don�t see how that should affect the type of cricket played,� Holding said.
He believes that since TV broadcast money is the main source of income, number of live match days will sort the issue.
�I would think the most money going into the coffers of cricket boards will be from TV contracts. That being the case, it should be a matter of supplying the number of days of cricket that the contract says,� he said. � PTI