Cricket in Times of COVID-19: Saliva Ban, Chartered Flights Advised for Travel as ICC Issues New Guidelines
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Dubai, May 22: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday announced the 'Back to Cricket Guidelines' for the safe resumption of cricket to assist its members in restarting cricket activity in their countries as government restrictions owing to COVID-19 pandemic start to relax.

It is a 16-paged document developed by the ICC Medical Advisory Committee in consultation with member Medical Representatives and provides guidance for the safe resumption of community cricket, domestic professional cricket and international cricket. ICC Issues Guidelines for Resumption of International Cricket, Recommends 14-Day Isolation Training Camps and Appointment of Medical Officers.

For the resumption of domestic cricket, members will need to comply with biosafety measures instituted by their government and public health authorities. However, for international cricket countries may also consider implementing additional biosafety requirements over and above the national and local government requirements and restrictions.For the professional game, it will also be important for ICC Members to consider any employment aspects including issues around the duty of care.

To resume training for the international cricket the ICC has said, "Consider appointing a Chief Medical Officer and/or Biosafety Official who will be responsible for implementing government regulations and the biosafety plan to resume training and competition.

"The need for a pre-match isolation training camp with health, temperature checks and COVID-19 testing at least 14 days prior to travel to ensure the team is coronavirus free is also mentioned. Sanitisation of personal equipment, before and after use, and practice of social distancing is also part of the guidelines.

Players and umpires should maintain social distancing on the cricket field and that includes no handing over of player items (cap, towels, sunglasses, jumpers) to the umpire or teammates. Consider adopting a process that will assist the bowler in managing his/her items. Umpires may also be encouraged to use gloves when handling the ball.

Regular hand sanitising when in contact with the ball, prohibition on the use of saliva and not touching eyes, nose, mouth after contact with the ball are the measures for 'safe management of the ball'.

ICC mentioned while travelling - consider chartered flights and seat spacing to ensure social distancing. For transport - consider regular and adequate cleaning, seat spacing, use of PPE and distance (time and space) between the arrival of teams at match venues.

For accommodation - consider dedicated hotel floor, single rooms, food quality and hygiene.International teams should strongly consider travelling with a medical doctor. Travelling teams should ensure necessary arrangements are in place to support a team member should they test positive while on tour. The international cricket has been suspended for more than two months due to the global surge in the COVID-19 positive cases. Anil Kumble-Led ICC Committee Recommends Ban on Saliva to Shine the Ball in Post COVID-19 Cricket Matches.

Many tournaments and series have been affected due to the deadly virus. The restart of cricket requires planning to assess and manage the risk of infection. The cricket playing nations were asked to follow their government's restrictions and advice, specifically those related to gatherings, travel, social distancing, and sporting competition for a safe return to cricket.

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