Sydney                    -            Australia coach Matthew Mott is confident the legacy of his team’s T20 World Cup win earlier this month won’t be lost even as the Covid-19 pandemic intensifies, while acknowledging that they got lucky with the timing of the whole thing.

A turnout of 86,714 spectators witnessed Australia’s memorable title-triumph at the MCG, giving way to some equally memorable celebrations. It was the second-highest audience for a women’s sporting event, coming just days before most of the cricket calendar had to shut down owing to the current crisis.

“I think we’re all shocked and it’s a little bit surreal at times,” Mott said on Tuesday (March 24). “From a community perspective we’re feeling for a lot of people who are a lot less fortunate than us. We were incredibly lucky. We thought we were lucky getting through the semi-final with the weather the way it was.

“Looking back, we were three or four days away from missing (the final) and it would have been incredibly disappointing with the amount of work that went in behind the scenes to basically fill the MCG, the game it turned out to be, and the celebration of women’s cricket. We feel very fortunate, we were incredibly lucky to get through that and it could have been so different if it as a week later. Hopefully for a lot of people it’s a lasting memory of live sport for a little while.”

Mott was proud of how Australia’s achievements resonated with a new audience, and felt the “legacy will live on” as many of the players become role-models for future generations. “I got a call from Andrew Symonds the other day and he said he was just so proud of the team, the images of the players celebrating and dancing with Katy Perry, they will last in the memories of anyone who watched the event for many years to come.

“I do think the images and the way we played, the adversity we came up against - the players have become heroes for a whole new audience and it’s a male audience as well as female. The young boys and girls who will be inspired by that event, I’ve already had so much feedback about that. I was playing backyard cricket with my son the other day and he did a little skip and hop as he came into bowl and he said he was Schutter (Megan Schutt).

“For me, that’s magic. It gave me goosebumps at the time and it shows we’re not just inspiring young girls, we’re inspiring young boys as well and the next generation will be so much better for that experience we went through,” Mott said.

Australia’s next international series is not scheduled until October, with contracted players now preparing to enter a six-week leave period. The current uncertainty means their off-season activities will be up in the air – with travel to the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Queensland for camps not possible for the foreseeable future – while it remains to be seen whether England’s new Hundred competition, which Mott and a host of Australian players are contracted for, will go ahead as planned.

It is not the perfect lead in to their next major tournament, the 2021 one-day World Cup in New Zealand due to begin next February, but Mott knows both he and Australian cricket are in fortunate positions compared to many other sports worldwide. “We’ve missed the tour of South Africa but for our team, we’ve got a big off-season ahead and that will have to be very flexible and fluid,” he said. “I do feel for some of the other sports who are in the midst of starting their seasons and from a cricket perspective, we have been very fortunate. “We had one-on-one meetings with every player last week and we feel really connected despite the isolation we’re in.”