Cricket Australia will seek the ICC’s permission to use disinfectants on match balls to understand if it can help reduce the health risk to players as the game gears up for a new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cricket Australia’s Sports Science and Sports Medicine Manager Alex Kountouris said they have drawn up a set of overall guidelines for players to safely return to training though competitive cricket is likely to be played only later this year.
With the ICC’s Cricket Committee proposing a ban on players using saliva to shine the ball, Kountouris said testing will soon commence on whether disinfecting the ball during a match will also be an effective way to minimise the health risks.
“Disinfecting the ball is a consideration,” Koumtoris was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
…we’d have to speak to the ICC and get permission, there’s a lot of things (to consider). And whether it’s effective or not. The ball being leather, it’s harder to disinfect because it’s got little nooks and crevasses.
“…we don’t know how infected the ball is going to get and we don’t know if it’s going to be allowed. But it’s absolutely a consideration. Everything is on the table at the moment, everything is being considered.”
Kountouris said since other nations, like England, are expected to play before Australia, they can comprehend the results of the measures being taken before implementing them in Australia.
“From an Australian cricket perspective, other countries are probably going to play before us,” he said.
“We’ve got a chance to work with the ICC and other countries to see what they come up with and how it works for them. We’ll obviously take whatever steps we need to do to make sure we lower the risk.”
As of now, Kountouris is educating Australia’s professional cricketers on the new training guidelines, saying it will be “a steep learning curve” to quit habits developed over many years.
Players will be required to use their own ball at training, minimise the amount of equipment that is shared, and regularly sanitise all equipment that is used.
“It’s going to be a tough habit to break. Some people are used to licking their fingers before they grab the ball, they’re used to shining the ball. It’s going to be a steep learning curve and hopefully we’ve got some time to practice that sort of stuff.
“Yep, there’s going to be mistakes at some point and we haven’t worked out how we’re going to deal with those mistakes and what the outcome will be,” he added.