LONDON (Reuters) – England test captain Joe Root is keen to play international cricket this summer but not by compromising on quality of the game or its intensity, the 29-year-old has said.

With professional cricket suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is considering playing the series against West Indies and Pakistan behind closed doors.

“If the game is compromised, it shouldn’t be going ahead,” Root told Sky Sports.

“The game itself, the intensity it is played at – if you can’t play test cricket at its absolute best we shouldn’t play it. It’s not a fair reflection of the sport.”

England’s home series against West Indies scheduled for June has been postponed while the inaugural ‘The Hundred’, which was to begin in July, has been moved to next year.

Root, like any professional cricketer, longed for international cricket but stressed public health was paramount.

“The guys are all missing playing and desperate to get back out there but safety is paramount for everyone involved. As soon as that is compromised, this can’t happen,” he said.

According to a Guardian report https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/may/06/england-cricketers-face-bio-secure-tests-nine-week-break-from-families-for-summer-tests-cricket, ECB’s plans to play in ‘bio-secure’ venues could keep the players away from their families for up to nine weeks.

Fast bowler Mark Wood said most players were fine with the idea after their chat with director of cricket Ashley Giles and the chief medical officer Nick Pierce.

“We trust what Ashley and the doctor are saying and if an environment is set up where it works then I think most players would trust that,” Wood said in a video conference.

“We are all willing as long as the environment and everybody – people working at the ground, management, cameramen – is safe.

“Everyone is desperate to get going and it would be good to get out there but the bigger picture is what is going on on the front line,” added the 30-year-old.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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