A virus leapt from the wet markets in Wuhan and through the earth’s global veins — trade, aviation and the proverbial travel itch — COVID-19 proliferated. It caused deaths, crippled economies and introduced us to three new usages — social-distancing, lockdowns and bio-bubbles. All through 2020, while mankind fought against its muscle memory to spontaneously hug and shake hands, sport was the last thing on anyone’s mind and cricket was no exception.

Since its formal inception in 1877, the willow game had previously paused during the two World Wars, but other than that it was normal service with the red cherry thudding into chiselled wood. And as eras receded, cricket broadened its form, seamlessly switching between Tests, ODIs and Twenty20s, slipping from whites to coloured clothing, embracing both day and night, and also making allowances for three types of balls —…

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