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No high-fives, spaced huddle could be new normal for Aussie cricketers

by Saurabh Sharma May 07, 2020 • 14:52 PM

Sydney, May 7: If things go as per plan, Cricket Australia will begin the team's pre-season later this month under a set of new training protocols devised for the safety of players amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis which has wreaked havoc across the world.

Cricket Australia is planning for the resumption of training under the watchful eyes of it's chief medical officer John Orchard and head of sports science and sports medicine Alex Kountouris, reports Sydney Morning Herald.

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The federal government in Australia has already released a framework regarding the staged return of sports amid the pandemic. The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), in consultation with medical experts, sporting bodies and federal and state governments, has come up with guidelines for sporting activities once training resumes in the country.

AIS guidelines dictate that even at Level C of activity -- when most sports are allowed full training and competition -- shining a cricket ball with sweat or saliva will be outlawed.

However, Kountouris does not believe that social distancing measures to be incorporated will have much impact on how teams train.

"There's physical distancing in the nets -- there's two or three bowlers in each net. One bowls at a time, the batter is 22 yards away so it's not a big problem," Kountouris said.

"We don't see it as too big a problem to manage, but these are the things we're spelling out. This is what you should do: keep your distance, how you should handle the ball, these are things easy to manage."

He further said that even though cricket is a non-contact sport, there will be changes to player's on-field habits.

"You might not see high-fiving after a wicket or people ruffling someone else's hair," Kountouris said.

"It will be a spaced huddle. It will be the new norm. That's one of those things, the physical distancing for the time being, that will definitely be out until a vaccine or some sort of solution like that (comes up).

"I think we'll have to find a different way to celebrate, they'll have to be innovative," he added.

Cricket Australia has already stated that it is working with the government to prepare a comprehensive biosecurity plan to ensure it is prepared as possible to deliver elite cricket content on Australian soil, including "an exciting summer of cricket highlighted by the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 and the Border-Gavaskar Test series between Australia and India".