Australia Restrict Use of Saliva, Sweat to Shine Ball Under COVID-19 Guidelines

ICC is actively considering the possibility of allowing the ball to be polished with artificial substances to reduce the risks associated with using saliva on the ball.

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Shining the ball with saliva or sweat will not be permitted once cricket training resumes in the post-COVID-19 world, states a framework released by the federal government regarding the staged return of sports amid the pandemic. The guidelines were laid by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in consultation with medical experts, sporting bodies and federal and state governments has come up with guidelines, restricting the use of saliva and sweat to shine the ball, a report in ESPNcricinfo suggests.

There is speculation that use of saliva to shine the ball will be stopped to cut down the risk of the highly contagious infection with reports suggesting that the ICC is considering the possibility of allowing the use of artificial substances to polish the red ball under the supervision of umpires.

The framework, which outlines a staged return to play, has three stages — Level A, Level B and Level C.

Currently, restrictions on sport are outlined as being at “Level A”, which restricts all training except that of the individual kind.

But in little more than a week from now, restrictions will be moved to “Level B” which will allow the following: “Nets — batters facing bowlers. Limit bowlers per net. Fielding sessions — unrestricted. No warm-up drills involving unnecessary person-person contact. No shining cricket ball with sweat/saliva during training.”

The third and final “Level C”, to be permitted later in the year, is outlined as: “Full training and competition. No ball shining with sweat/saliva in training.”

The framework also provides a guideline for training and management of illness in elite sports.

“The approach to training should focus on ‘get in, train, get out’, minimising unnecessary contact in change rooms, bathrooms, and communal areas. Prior to resumption, sporting organisations should have agreed protocols in place for the management of illness in athletes and other personnel,” it said.

“Individuals should not return to sport if in the last 14 days they have been unwell or had contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19.

“Any individual with respiratory symptoms (even if mild) should be considered a potential case and must immediately self-isolate, have COVID-19 excluded and be medically cleared by a doctor to return to the training environment.

“Athletes returning to the sport after COVID-19 infection require special consideration prior to the resumption of high-intensity physical activity.”

(With Agency Inputs)

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