Gillespie hopeful over T20 World Cup, believes domestic systems can prosper

The coronavirus pandemic has caused huge issues for international cricket, but could domestic systems be set to prosper?

Jason Gillespie believes domestic cricket could capitalise on having star players available.   -  Getty Images

Jason Gillespie remains hopeful the ICC T20 World Cup will go ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic, while he sees a route for domestic cricket to not only survive but thrive in unprecedented circumstances.

The seventh edition of the T20 tournament is due to take place in Australia during October and November, though the ongoing global health crisis has raised logistical issues that have put the event in doubt.

Different guidelines will affect when players can return to practice due to the risks posed by COVID-19 in each country, while the international fixture list for 2020 has been decimated.

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Then there are potential travel restrictions for those flying to Australia, with former South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis proposing a two-week quarantine period for players both before and after the World Cup.

Gillespie insists it should only go ahead if all countries can participate, but expects contingency plans are being put in place in case it needs to be moved.

"I'm still hopeful that we can have a tournament in one form or another," the former Australia fast bowler told Stats Perform. "Whether it's on when it's scheduled is another conversation, I think.

"My gut feeling would be potentially to push it back a little bit, but at the moment, I'm still hopeful that all the teams participating can do that. That will come down to the administrators, the authorities, to make the right calls at the time.

"But I think, at the moment, because there is a bit of time, I think we can assume things will go ahead, but I’m sure, behind the scenes, there'll be Plan B and Plan C in any situation that can crop up."

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Gillespie should have been busy in his role as head coach at Sussex at this stage of the year, yet the 2020 English county season remains on hold.

However, there is the potential for a positive to emerge from the situation, according to Gillespie, as domestic teams around the world may suddenly benefit from having international stars available on a more regular basis.

“I'm trying to put a positive spin on this situation, and I think the one thing I keep coming back to is borders are essentially closed in all the countries, but local sport can play," he said.

"It's a really good opportunity for cricket. I think it's a wonderful opportunity for the various boards and Cricket Australia to really promote the fact that international players are going to play a fair chunk of the season for their respective states, which I think is absolutely fantastic.

"I’d be really pushing Sheffield Shield cricket hard [in Australia] and giving it a lot of coverage and promotion, because I think it's a wonderful competition.

"These days, international players don’t get to play much Sheffield Shield cricket. They love playing Sheffield Shield cricket, but with the schedules, it makes it very difficult, so I’d say really promote that.

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"All around the world, can you imagine India having all their superstar players playing their domestic cricket? English cricket stars if cricket's able to be played there, having all their international players; South African domestic cricket, Pakistan domestic cricket.

"All around the world, I think it could really give domestic competitions a shot in the arm, and that can only be really good for our sport.

"I'm sure a lot of people will be following domestic cricket if there is limited international cricket. Then the domestic game can not only survive, I think it can thrive."

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