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England stars told not to put sweat or saliva on the ball

England stars told not to put sweat or saliva on the ball and umpires must not collect a bowler’s jumper, sunglasses or cap under return-to-action plan

  •  New ICC recommendations for bowlers, wicketkeepers, fielders and umpires
  • England preparing for first match of the summer versus West Indies on July 8 
  • The ECB are encouraging their Test cricketers to ‘get into good habits’   
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

England’s players have been told not to put sweat or saliva on the ball and to relay it straight from the wicketkeeper to the bowler as part of their return-to-action plan.

Although the ICC has not banned the use of sweat in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ECB are encouraging their Test cricketers to ‘get into good habits’ in preparation for a proposed first match of the summer versus West Indies on July 8.

It could lead to more fast bowlers wearing headbands as Stuart Broad did on his second day of isolated practice with Nottinghamshire physio James Pipe this week.

England’s players have been told not to put sweat or saliva on the ball due to coronavirus

‘After the first day of bowling, James said I was touching my face too much – which is one of the ‘no-goes’ for us. So I wore a headband on the second day to stop the sweat dripping down and remove the temptation of touching it,’ Broad said.

‘We are having to re-train ourselves. It’s such an ingrained habit to lick your fingers as a bowler to shine the ball. Personally, I feel like I use sweat from my forehead more than saliva, it’s been second nature for 20 years, but they don’t want us to use any sweat or saliva at all at the moment.’

The directive for wicketkeepers to return the ball straight back to the bowler is part of a drive to reduce the number of times it passes through different sets of hands.

Under the new ICC recommendations, published on Friday, fielders have been instructed to avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth after making contact with it, and to sanitise their hands regularly.

Umpires asked to wear gloves and must no longer collect a bowler’s attire between overs

Players have also been actively encouraged not to celebrate through physical contact with team-mates – something the England team found difficult, given the instinct to high-five when taking wickets, in Sri Lanka recently.

Umpires have been asked to consider wearing gloves, rather than been instructed to do so, but must no longer collect a bowler’s attire – such as sweaters, caps and sunglasses – between overs.

One other striking feature of the ICC’s 16-page ‘back to cricket guidelines’ was advice to protect bowlers from incurring injury after such a lengthy lay-off.

Test cricket, their report said, would require a preparation period of between eight and 12 weeks, the final month of which would involve match-intensity bowling.

It suggested evidence pointed towards older bowlers, and those with long-term workloads over 1200 overs, being less susceptible to stress fractures of the back but warned ‘these figures have not been seen in conditions where such an enforced period of lockdown has been noted’ and added: ‘Research suggests a seven-week period of shut down can see 2% bone loss in the spine that takes up to 24 weeks to replace.’ 




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