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Magic of playing in front of packed crowd can’t be re-created: Virat Kohli

MUMBAI: India skipper Virat Kohli is doubtful whether the magic of playing with a packed crowd watching can be re-created when cricket is played in empty stadiums post the COVID-19 crisis which has brought the world to a standstill.

Speaking on ‘Just kidding’ with Virat Kohli on a show ‘Cricket Connected’ which was shared by BCCI on their Twitter handle on Monday, Kohli said while games will still be competitive, that energy players feed off supporters in the ground will be lost.

“I have thought about it a lot. This is obviously a very possible situation. It might happen. I honestly don’t know how everyone is going to be able to take that,” Kohli said.

“We are used to playing in front of so many passionate people. You feed off people’s energy on the ground. Whether you are playing in another country where the crowd is on the other side. You use that as a determination to keep fighting against all odds and that gives you a different kind of determination as you are competing not just with the XI but everyone who is in the stadium. There is a collective energy there which you have to fight against.

“In your own country, you feed off people’s energy and it takes you into a different direction where some things, as I said, might not seem possible, but that belief..that optimism from the whole crowd combined with the odds…takes you to another level which is quite difficult to recreate if you don’t have that environment around you.

“So…things might still will go on but you might not see that kind of involvement in a passionate way,” said the ace batsman.

“It will be played at a very good intensity but that feel of the crowd connecting with the players and that tension of the game…everyone feeling that tension around the stadium…those emotions are very difficult to re-create. So things will still go on. But I doubt you will feel something magical happening inside because of that atmosphere,” added the 31-year old.

Giving an example of how atmosphere can motivate a team, he picked out the 2016 World T20 quarter-final game against Australia in Mohali played on March 27 — where his unbeaten 82 helped India snatch a thrilling six-wicket win with five balls to spare and enter the semi-finals of the tournament.
“Apart from the 2011 (World Cup) final (which India won), my other favourite match from the atmosphere and importance of the game point of view, would be the 2016 T20 quarter-finals against Australia in Mohali,” Kohli said.
There has been lot of talk about holding cricket matches behind closed doors in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which has halted all activities globally.
Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes has said recently that the competitiveness will not be lost even if the sport is played behind closed doors.
Source : timesofindia