Considerable time is spent by cricketers on the field during matches played under the scorching sun. It is critical that they protect their face and hands from direct exposure to the harmful UV rays.
During a Test match, playing five days at a stretch under the sun is not an easy job and since the players are taking every precautionary measure to stay fit, it is essential to pay heed to issues that could be trivial.
Former South African pacer Alan Donald was famous for applying a long layer of protective cream over his nose and on the lips, as these two parts are most likely to get sunburnt, especially when the cricketers are spending six hours out in the sun.
The white stuff, which also comes in different colours, is the zinc cream which stops the sunburn.
The zinc creams, including coloured ones are useful because one can make sure that ears, noses and cheeks are protected, as a thick layer of the cream blocks all UVA and UVB light.
Also, an interesting aspect is that the zinc creams as well as sun protection creams are very helpful in shining a cricket ball.
In a funny incident, former Aussie pacer Jason Gillespie considered going against medical advice and putting his health at risk to ensure he is not called a cheat.
Gillespie had been advised by his doctor to apply zinc cream when playing, and he thought people may call him cheat by applying the cream, which is likely to end up on the cricket ball as he applies saliva to the seam.
"If I put zinc on my lips then do this (lick his fingers) I am worried that I might inadvertently put zinc on the ball and all of a sudden people will say 'Gillespie's a cheat'," was quoted in The Courier Mail.