Australia will not allow the use of saliva or sweat to shine the ball once cricket training resumes in the post COVID-19 world, says a framework released by the federal government regarding the staged return of sports amid the pandemic.
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.
According to ESPNcricinfo, 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.
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 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 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 sport after COVID-19 infection require special consideration prior to resumption of high intensity physical activity.”