Wicket celebrations such as high fives and fist bumps between batsmen should be banned according to the International Cricket Council’s guidelines for cricket’s return to action.
On-field behaviour including celebrations should be ‘strongly discouraged’ and umpires should ‘use gloves when handling the ball’ to minimise the risk of infection according to a report released on Friday by the ICC.
The ICC also confirmed that umpires will not handle caps, sunglasses or jumpers for the players and hand sanitizer should be available for players to use after handling the ball. Whether this is in the form of wipes that can be kept in a player’s pocket or dispensers off the field of play is to be decided by individual boards in consultation with their own Government guidelines.
As expected, saliva must not be applied to the ball, and players should be given ‘clear guidance’ on regular hand sanitising when in contact with the ball and to not touch eyes, nose, and mouth after handling the ball.
The 16-page document covers international, domestic and grass roots cricket and is designed as a framework for countries to develop their own rules in accordance with rules laid down by governments.
The England & Wales Cricket Board has written its own guidelines which alongside those from Public Health England, were used to advise the handful of England players this week when they returned to nets. International cricket will learn what works from the series to be held in England this summer and so far it seems West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland will tour this summer.
Australia are also moving closer to agreeing to play England in September in a series of ODI and T20 games. The ICC report urges boards to consider chartering flights and ‘seat spacing’ to ensure social distancing and the use of PPE while travelling. England will foot the bill for chartered flights to bring the West Indies over next month and Pakistan in July to minimise the risk of picking up an infection on a commercial airliner.