As cricket has resumed after a long break because of the coronavirus pandemic, the cricketers are now being kept in a bio-secure bubble and are expected to follow a whole different set of protocols that they wouldn’t have to follow otherwise.
The cricketers have been told very clearly that any breach in the protocols in any way would lead to consequences.
The ECB officials set an example earlier today by suspending Jofra Archer who broke the bio-security created for the players and was immediately removed from the England squad for the second Test against West Indies.
Here are the 5 new bio-secure protocols which have been put in place –
#1 No Saliva:
Since coronavirus spreads from human to human through the intake of droplets, the cricketers have been strictly prohibited from putting saliva on the ball.
The cricket ball is directly touched by all the players of the bowling team during an innings which means it can be a medium of the spread of the virus if any of the players have contracted the virus.
#2 Local umpires
Since it wouldn’t be safe and convenient to fly the neutral umpires from different countries in these circumstances, it has been decided by the International Cricket Council (ICC) that local umpires can be used in the Test series between England and West Indies.
Generally, the two on-field umpires and the third umpire operating in a Test match are all neutral and only the fourth umpire is local, but at this point in time, all the umpires involved in the game are local.
#3 COVID substitutes
Before the Test series between England and West Indies, a player out of the playing XI was allowed to be put into the playing XI in the middle of a game only if someone from the playing XI suffered a concussion.
However, now a similar rule has been put in place for COVID as well. If a player shows COVID symptoms mid-way through a game, ICC would allow a substitute for him in the playing XI.
#4 No hand-shake
The players have been asked to be reserved in their celebrations and avoid too much of contact with their teammates while celebrating.
Although it’s practically impossible for the players to ensure zero contact with the teammates, still a few things like hand-shakes etc. have been completely prohibited.
Fist touching has replaced the hand-shakes and the hugs have disappeared as well. The players are not hugging their teammates after taking a wicket or reaching a milestone.
#5 Food and accommodation
The same hotel has been booked for the two teams as well as the match officials and the broadcasters.
Nobody involved in the game is allowed to go to the restaurants. Whatever they need, they can ask the room service and they will get it in their rooms. The cricketers have also been asked to eat separately or in small batches.