Coronavirus has brought changes in every walk of life, the whole world will be indeed a changed place. Similarly, the game of Cricket will also experience major changes due to COVID-19.
As all the cricketing activities are halted since last two months, ICC this week announced interim changes to its playing regulations and a resumption of cricketing activities. The set of guidelines were issued by the International Cricket Council. Some of the changes that will take place are.
Cricket will be played behind closed doors till an indefinite period, this is for sure. The players will no longer enjoy the crowd chanting their name and teams not being able to enjoy the home crowd benefit. Many leading players have expressed their dejection over playing in front of no spectator but still hoped that the sport will revive.
There will no celebrations on wickets on the field with high-fives, hugs or any involving physical contact. This condition may turn the atmosphere of the game quite sober and plain as the players would be deprived of rejoicing their feats.
No Use of Saliva on the Ball:
The new guidelines ban the use of saliva to shine the ball and make it swing as it was a regular and the most common practice of the bowlers.
Social Distancing in and Outside the Field:
The players and match officials will have to maintain social distancing on the field as the bowlers will no longer be handing over their caps, hats, sweaters, sunglasses or any other items to the umpire or fellow team mates.
The umpires will need to wear gloves during the match. Bowlers will need to regularly perform hand sanitization and not touch eyes, nose and mouth after making contact with the ball. ICC suggested teams to consider chartered flights ensuring social distancing in seating and separate rooms. 14 days prior COVID-19 testing in case of travel to ensure that the team is COVID-19 free.
Local Match Officials in Place of Neutral Match Officials:
Due to the challenges of international travel and quarantine requirements, ICC recommended the appointment of local match officials in place of neutral umpires and match referees. However, the appointment will be made by the ICC from the ICC Elite Panel and international panel. When there are no elite panel match officials in the country, the best local international panel match officials will be appointed.
More Reviews and Player Substitution in Place:
Keeping in mind, there may be less experienced umpires on duty at times, an additional unsuccessful additional DRS review is granted to each team in each innings of a match. This will increase the number of unsuccessful appeals per innings for each team to three for Tests and two for the ODIs. Only for test matches, ICC also allowed substitution of players having symptoms of COVID-19, the match referee will approve the nearest likely substitute of the affected player.
These are some of the measures that the Cricketing world will adopt in the coming days but one this is for sure, Cricket will be colorless in the times to come.