Joe Root and Heather Knight pen open letter to 'cricket family' regarding coronavirus crisis
England's cricket captains have penned a letter to the 'cricket family' to urge 'teamwork' and unity during the time of uncertainty created by the coronavirus crisis.
They begin by referring to all the cricketing activities that should betaking place both here,and around the world.
And they encourage fans to get support where they need it, try to find the positives that can come out of this and remind them that health is more important than just sport.
Here is their message:
"Today the England men’s Test team should be completing their tour of Sri Lanka.
"Today our team-mates and fellow pros should be entering the final phases of their pre-season preparations ahead of the start of the County season.
"Today cricket fans across the United Kingdom should be itching to get in the nets ahead of their club campaigns, dreaming of match-winning displays, looking forward to playing with their mates or simply watching the game we love at their local ground.
"But today is very different. The coronavirus pandemic has put life and cricket as we all know it on hold, sharpening our perspective and shining the spotlight on true heroes.
"As England players we’ve tasted some desperate days and enjoyed exhilarating highs and tried to stay grounded throughout.
"But over the last few weeks I’m sure that many of you, like us, have experienced intense emotions as the pandemic has spread.
"Perhaps you have lost a loved one, fear for someone who is ill or are sick yourself. Perhaps you are worried about families and friends and are anxious about what the future holds."
Despite the need for physical distancing, they then encouraged fans to remain united adding: "Never has teamwork been more important in our society.
"Social distancing may mean that we can’t come together in a physical sense, but our strength lies in our communities coming together to help one another.
"We’ve heard so many incredible stories of people doing that – in our local area and the country beyond – and it fills us both with pride.
"In our positions as England captain we’ve witnessed events that have had entire stadiums on their feet, but this pandemic has shown us who deserves the loudest cheers."
The two captains echoed the celebrations of the unwavering work of NHS workers, health workers and all those who are working tirelessly to support the nation.
They continued: "To all those working on the frontline to assist the greatest in need, all those co-ordinating and delivering the supply of life’s essentials and all those as yet unsung heroes, we salute you.
"Our team-mates and we have been incredibly lucky to have amazing support over the years – not only from fans at every ground we play at but from those following us from all around the world and it has made a real difference.
"Now we truly hope that everyone tackling this pandemic head-on gets all the support they need.
"If anything good can come out of this, it is a reminder of the very best in human nature.
"Over the past few weeks, we’ve been fortunate enough to spend more time with family – time we cherish and will look back on with fondness once the cricket calendar stirs into life again. And it will.
"None of us knows when as yet and at times that feels incredibly frustrating – there’s nothing we’d like more than to get back out on the field and win for our fans – but the bigger picture quickly puts those feelings firmly in perspective."
The two captains finished with advice to keep training within the government guidelines and reiterated the need for sticking together.
"So, until that day comes," they wrote, "keep shadow batting, practising your action and working on your fitness and skills – and above all stay strong and united."
The start of the cricket season has been postponed until May 28 while Root's men are currently set to play their first international against the West Indies on June 4 while Knight's side are scheduled to start their summer fixtures on June 25 against India.
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