The world is coming to terms with the coronavirus pandemic. While people are slowly getting back to their daily activities, the ICC (International Cricket Council) is also pondering about resuming cricket. Cricket’s governing body has issued comprehensive guidelines on how the game should be resumed. The 16-page document pays the utmost importance to players’ safety.
The document does not seek to address the question of ‘when cricket can restart’ but it offers guidance on how members can return to play. The guidelines are relevant for all cricket, be it international cricket, domestic professional cricket or community cricket and apply to all participants. The ICC identifies the cricket ball as a potential transmission medium and many guidelines pertain to this specific issue.
Social distancing amongst players and umpires
The ICC has strongly discouraged the on-field behaviour that includes celebrations with body contact, and shared use of drink bottles, towels and equipment can pose a risk in cricket. It also asks the players to take responsibility for their own items and not hand them over to others.
Guidelines for bowlers
When it comes to preparing bowlers for return to international cricket, ICC has recommended the following timelines –
– A return to T20I would suggest a minimum 5-6 week preparation period, the last 3-week period would involve match intensity bowling.
– ODI cricket would require a minimum 6-week preparation period, the final 3-week period would involve match intensity bowling.
– Test cricket would require a minimum of 8-12 week preparation period, the final 4-5-week period would involve match intensity bowling.
The following suggested periods would be dependent on the individual and a longer period may well be necessary on an individual basis.
Managing the ball condition
There have been raging debates over the usage of salive for managing the ball condition. The ICC has issued the following guidelines for the same –
Provide players with clear guidance on the safe management of the ball. This will include
– Regular hand sanitising when in contact with the ball
– Do not touch eyes, nose, and mouth after making contact with the ball
– Saliva should not be used on the ball.