'There is no one watching you and you are playing because you love the game'
England batsman Jos Buttler says cricket's possible return behind closed doors in the post COVID-19 world will be 'strange' but it will also take the game back to its 'most purest form' when no one watched the players compete.
With the coronavirus outbreak forcing a cricket shutdown across the world, there is speculation that the sport might initially return without fans.
"An interesting thought about when cricket returns, if it comes behind closed doors and there is no fans and stuffs, I know that will be really strange for professional cricketers but in a funny sort of way it will take you back to what it was like when you first started," Buttler said in an interview to Lancashire Cricket.
"There is no one watching you and you are playing because you love the game. I know it will be different because you have experienced the other side of it but that is the most purest form of cricket, isn't it?."
The global health crisis has forced England and Wales Cricket Board to suspend all professional sport till July 1 in the country and also put in doubt the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia. Buttler said he is hoping for some form of cricket to return this year.
"...one thing that sports does is it brings people together, give people hope. So hope there can be some form of cricket whether it is behind closed doors, or we play the Blasts, just a little bit of something, it would be great to see the boys on field again even if it is for TV, and get that enjoyment from sport again," he said.
"But sports is not on the top of tree with how things going on. But fingers crossed, things can turn in the positive way as quickly as they went the other way."
Buttler, who plays for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, also praised former India skipper and Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, saying he has learnt a lot by just watching him during the IPL.
"MS Dhoni has always been a big idol of mine and chaos is always going around him, people wanting a bit of him, the cricket and the noise."
"....it is such a great lesson to just watch him and see first hand how to manage all that thing if you have to perform at the top level and perform in those crunch moment, that certainly has been one of the massive pluses," he said.
The 29-year-old, England's limited over vice-captain, said playing the IPL has been a great learning curve and it taught him to perform under pressure.
"It was one of pressures you have to learn, especially in India, as an oversees players, you are one of the four in the team and you know the other four who are not playing are also world class players. So you are under pressure to perform," he said.
"So that's been a great learning curve. One of the things I came out with from the first IPL is to just learn to deal with the chaos."
Buttler, who had started his IPL journey with the Mumbai Indians in 2016–2017, said his first experience of playing in the cash-rich tournament was quite "tiring".
"There is so much going on off the field, with adverts and stuff that you never done before, meet and greet and different things for different sponsors and then thinking about the game all the time and finding ways to switch off," he said.