To the cricket family,
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.
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.
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.
So, until that day comes, keep shadow batting, practising your action and working on your fitness and skills – and above all stay strong and united.
Joe Root and Heather Knight
England Men’s Test Captain
England Women’s Captain