Author: Alan Birkinshaw
John Virr is preparing for a quiet time when he scores the second Test between England and West Indies at Old Trafford next month.
The game is going to be played behind closed doors and the former Bradford Premier League secretary and Hanging Heaton scorer admits it will present a different challenge to the 10 previous internationals he has officiated at.
The match, which start of July 16, will also be the first time he has been on international duty away from Headingley, and as preparation he is scoring the current four-day fixture between West Indies and West Indies A at Old Trafford.
It will be Virr’s fourth Test match – he has also done four One Day internationals and three World Cup games – since he was appointed as Yorkshire’s Second Team scorer.
“It is a great honour to be chosen,” Virr said, “but it is going to be really strange being in such a vast stadium with no fans.
“It is going to feel a bit like a county second team game where there are usually just a few spectators.
“The atmosphere that a crowd generates at a Test match is incredible, particularly on the first morning, and it will be very strange looking out from the old pavilion and seeing an empty and silent ground.”
The current warm up game for the West Indies has also given Virr an insight into what working in a bio secure environment is like.
He must pass through a temperature screening device whenever he enters the ground and has to complete a daily medical form. This is backed up with a chat with a doctor from the ground’s medical team. The scorers must also take a weekly Coronavirus test.
Unlike the players and the umpires who are staying on site at the Old Trafford ground’s hotel, the scorers are travelling to and from the venue alone every day.
“This is going to be different to any other Test match I have scored at, but it is good to be watching cricket played. It seems such a long time since the end of last season, so this week’s four-day game is an opportunity to get back up to speed, provided the rain stops.”
Rain washed out the entire first day’s play at Old Trafford today.
This picture from the West Indies Twitter account reflected the soggy scene at Old Trafford