May 13, 2020 / 1:30 PM / 20 days ago

Cricket: Coronavirus break could help prolong careers, says Buttler

(Reuters) - The novel coronavirus shutdown has allowed cricketers to recharge their batteries and could help prolong their careers by a few years, England wicket-keeper Jos Buttler said.

Cricket - South Africa v England - Fourth Test - Imperial Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - January 26, 2020 England's Jos Buttler in action REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Buttler last played in a warm-up match against Sri Lanka in March before the COVID-19 pandemic brought global sport to a standstill.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last month extended the suspension of the professional game in the country until July 1 and Buttler believes the extended break will prove beneficial in the long run.

“I think maybe in years to come we’ll be looking back at the benefits. It’s a strange time and tough on families and people across the world,” Buttler, 29, told British media.

“I hope we never experience it again, but to have a complete break — both physically and mentally — will hopefully add some more years to come to our careers. Potentially, it could have a benefit on us as players.”

Britain has recorded Europe’s highest death toll from the outbreak with over 32,000 fatalities, but the government has given the green light for elite sport to return from June 1.

England players are set to return to individual training in the coming weeks and Buttler admitted he has mixed feelings about getting back on the field.

“It’s a bit of everything — nerves, excitement and apprehension — but I think it’s a positive step for cricket for players to train,” Buttler, who has played 41 tests for England, added.

“As a player you feel like you’ve had a nice rest and really enjoyed it, it’s been good to have the break and are hopefully feeling refreshed for some cricket.”

The ECB hopes to host a three-test series against West Indies in July, possibly behind closed doors and at ‘bio-secure’ venues.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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