No sweat! Umpires can refuse to take bowlers’ caps and sweaters when cricket returns after coronavirus crisis
- Officials have flagged up concerns about holding personal items due to Covid-19
- Bowlers will be asked to throw clothing and other items over the boundary rope
- Umpires will not be instructed to wear gloves — medical or otherwise
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Umpires will be allowed to refuse to take bowlers’ caps and sweaters when the new season eventually gets under way.
Officials have flagged up concerns about holding on to personal items during recent discussions with the ECB’s umpires’ manager, Chris Kelly.
As a result, if cricket returns while Covid-19 is still a threat, bowlers will be asked to throw clothing and other things such as sunglasses beyond the boundary rope.
Umpires will be allowed to refuse to take bowlers’ caps and sweaters when cricket returns
However, umpires will not be instructed to wear gloves — medical or otherwise — to reduce the chances of contracting coronavirus by handling the ball.
Officials are required to check the state of the ball in Twenty20 matches every time a six is struck, and when the ball is feared to have gone out of shape in first-class cricket, meaning they regularly come into contact with it. Balls thrown back by spectators would potentially increase the risk.
But it will remain the umpire’s choice as to whether they want to cover their hands, in line with ECB policy on protective gear such as arm guards, helmets and shin pads for their officials.
Umpires will not be instructed to wear gloves to protect themselves when handling the ball
The ECB only made the wearing of helmets mandatory for batters and close fielders in 2016 after a British standard was introduced and Sportsmail understands a similar process would need to take place before another firm directive on other specialist equipment is made.
Meanwhile, it will be the responsibility of individual boards rather than the MCC, the sport’s lawmakers, to decide whether the use of saliva to shine the ball is increasing the potential for contamination and adjust their playing regulations accordingly.
Surrey will stand down Australia international D’Arcy Short as overseas player if this year’s Vitality Blast is played behind closed doors due to the financial ramifications of there being no crowd.
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