No Saliva on Ball, England Pacers at Nets & India’s Next Move

Over two months of no live cricket and the sport is finally taking baby steps towards making a comeback. In the last week itself, we’ve seen the ICC recommend changes to a few rules, in the times of COVID, and also heard reports of India possibly touring South Africa in August and also about the scheduled series in Sri Lanka.

So what’s all that’s new in the world of cricket? Here’s a wrap:

England Pacers Start Training

The English team have already started with individual training sessions of their fast bowlers. Remember they have plans of hosting West Indies and then Pakistan in Test series starting July.

Also Read: When & in Which Form Will Cricket Return Post COVID-19?

To get things rolling, they called on a pool of 18 fast bowlers who go through individual training sessions before the rest of the players too start, in 2 weeks time. Stuart Broad took us through the process of his return to bowling and it involved a temperature check, his own set of cricket balls and well, a personalised bathroom!

Also Read: Stuart Broad Shares Live Updates as England Pacers Start Training

Change in Cricket’s Rules

The ICC too made the one big decision that many bowlers were set against - banning the use of saliva to shine a cricket ball. The apex body’s cricket committee, headed by Anil Kumble, announced on Monday that as an ‘interim measure’ the use of saliva was going to be prohibited, while shining the ball with sweat was allowed as ‘it is highly unlikely’ that the virus can be transmitted through it.

Also Read: ICC’s Cricket Committee Recommends Banning Use of Saliva on Ball

They also recommended the use of umpires from the country where the Test series are being played, keeping in mind the travel restrictions that are continuing to be imposed by Governments. In this regard, they did propose an extra DRS review per innings.

All decisions are to be ratified at the ICC meet on 28 May.

What About India?

The Lockdown 4.0 MHA guidelines have allowed the opening of sports complexes and stadiums across India, with no fans. The BCCI though said they’d wait a bit longer before calling their players to start training, due to the sealed borders. However, that roadblock too has been cleared with airlines starting operations on 25 May.

So, what’s next for the Indian team? The BCCI is yet to make an update. According to the ICC’s FTP (Future Tours Programme), the Indian team is to travel to Sri Lanka in July. But, that was all before the lockdowns were announced and borders sealed. The Sri Lankan board has expressed their interest in continuing with the committed series, specially since the island nation’s COVID fight seems to be under control, with between just 5 and 30 cases a day for the last few weeks.

But, will the BCCI risk making their players get back on the field so soon? Will the Governments give clearances for sir travel? Again, no update regarding this either.

However, this past week, there have suddenly emerged plans of India travelling to South Africa for a T20I in August. Now, this is not part of the scheduled series on the agenda and with South Africa’s COVID numbers also rising rapidly, an August tour looks unlikely though there seems to be a parallel narrative running around this with Graeme Smith, South Africa’s new Director of Cricket, also pushing for Ganguly to take over as the next ICC president, in a few months.

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