Cricket Australia restricts players from using sweat on England tour
After banning the use of saliva, Cricket Australia (CA) has restricted the players from using sweat from the head, face and neck to shine the ball during the upcoming limited-overs tour of England. The measure has been taken to contain the spread of COVID-19. Although the International Cricket Council (ICC) has permitted the use of body sweat, CA seems to be snubbing it.
It is understood that the guidelines are not announced officially by the ICC, and based solely on medical advice from Cricket Australia. Notably, the Australian players have been barred from using the sweat from anywhere above the shoulder-level. Also, they won't be able to use sweat and saliva during the training sessions with their domestic sides at home.
Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Starc believes the particular rule won't affect the bowlers in white-ball cricket, however, the bowlers will need to acclimatize in the Test format accordingly. "It's probably not something that's too relevant in white-ball cricket," Starc said on Thursday. "Once that new ball starts to go, you're trying to keep it dry anyway. It's more of a question for red-ball cricket."
"I think we saw a bit during that England (Test) series, Jofra using some sweat off his back. If the world stays as it is, those restrictions will still be there. That saliva one will probably be around for a lot longer anyway," added Starc.
In June, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed interim changes to its playing regulations. The changes included ban on saliva usage to shine the ball and allowing local umpires in bilateral series. However, the global cricket board permitted the use of body sweat for the same. Previously, the Anil Kumble-led ICC Cricket Committee recommended these changes to safeguard the health of players.
The ban on saliva didn't impact the bowlers much in England's recently concluded Test summer. Interestingly, the bowlers were also able to produce decent movement due to use of body sweat on the bowling-friendly Dukes ball. Moreover, overcast conditions also provided them the required assistance. It remains to be seen how the Kookaburra ball behaves with restrictions on use of both sweat and saliva.
As per the schedule announced by the ECB, Australia will tour England in September this year. The T20Is will be played on September 4, 6, and 8 respectively at the Ageas Bowl. Meanwhile, the Emirates Old Trafford will play host to the three ODIs on September 11, 13, and 16 respectively. Following the series, the IPL-bound players from both sides will leave for UAE.