Cricket risks being “forgotten” the longer it goes without being played, says Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer.
Playing the game at all is on hold in Scotland until at least 1 August, and no league or national cup competitions will take place in 2020.
Coetzer fears people could be lost to the game, but does not think Scotland will fall behind other nations.
“Any sport that isn’t getting any headlines will slowly but surely start to be forgotten in some ways,” he said.
“People who are playing at the grassroots may well just decide ‘well, we are not playing this year’ and some might just decide ‘well, actually I am not going to bother coming back’. You just hope that isn’t the case.”
Coetzer’s Scotland side should have been preparing for next month’s one day and T20 internationals with New Zealand in Edinburgh, but both have been postponed because of the pandemic.
The national team’s proposed capital date with Australia on 29 June seems likely to face a similar fate, as do matches in July with Nepal and Namibia.
And the captain admits missing out on such high-profile games would be “a huge blow” to a Scotland side continually fighting to establish itself at the sport’s top table.
“These opportunities don’t come round every year and playing those games gives the whole cricketing public in Scotland real hope,” Coetzer said.
“I don’t think cricket in Scotland will fall behind – I think everyone is pretty much in the same place give or take a bit of finance. We will be as eager as any other team to keep pushing forward.”
Scotland have already qualified for October’s T20 World Cup in Australia, but it is unclear if the event will go ahead or if any fans will be in attendance.
Coetzer says moving it to a later date would seem sensible but, at the age of 36, he knows his chances of playing in such competitions are dwindling.
However, the International Cricket Council’s associate player of the year believes he has still got plenty to achieve in a Scotland shirt.
“We have full member status on the horizon, which is something that is massively on my agenda,” he said. “And I would love to play in a couple more World Cups.
“I keep proving myself wrong by doing things that I didn’t think I was capable of and that is a very special thing. I can see myself managing another few years yet anyway.”