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England v Australia

No sweat to shine ball – New restrictions imposed on Australia team in the UK

Australia shine
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

In addition to the pre-existing guidelines on the restriction of saliva usage for shining the ball, Australia’s players have been told not to use sweat from their head, face and neck during their upcoming tour of the UK.

In May, ICC had banned the use of saliva as a measure against the Covid-19 pandemic, but allowed the use of sweat ahead of the resumption of international cricket in the UK. However, new medical advice issued to travelling Australia players will prevent them from applying sweat during their T20I and ODI series against England next month.

“There’s slightly altered guidelines from what people may have seen from the previous England series here,” Mitchell Starc, the Australia quick, said. “You can’t use sweat from around the face, neck or head and you obviously can’t use saliva.”

Existing protocols allowed the use of sweat during England’s home series against West Indies and Pakistan, where players were seen applying sweat from their forehead and back on the red Dukes ball. Starc, however, feels that the new guidelines won’t make much of a difference for Australia’s visiting squad, which will only feature in white-ball cricket before they return to host India in December-January.

“It might look a bit interesting if bowlers are using sweat off their back, can’t use it off your arms either I don’t think, so it makes for a bit of an interesting one,” Starc said. “Probably not something that’s too relevant in white-ball cricket, once that new ball starts to go you are trying to keep it dry anyway so probably more a question for red-ball cricket.”

Australia players will feature in an intra-squad 50-over game on August 28, following which they will play three practice games ahead of the first T20I on September 4, which gives them ample time to get used to the new protocols.

“No doubt we’ll find out what it’s like in the practice games and whether we need to revisit any planning around it,” Starc said. “We haven’t been able to use sweat or saliva back in Australia so that was pretty simple. Slightly more lenient here with the bowler allowed to use sweat from certain places. It’s not a huge issue in white-ball cricket, I don’t think.

“If the world stays as is for a little while those restrictions will be there, that saliva one will probably be there a lot longer…it’s probably more of a relevant question to red-ball cricket and wanting to look after that ball a lot longer and hopefully swinging it around. One for the red-ball team to talk about when we get to that point.”

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