London, July 08: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the international cricket returns as West Indies will take on England today in the first test of 3-test matches at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton will be played behind-closed-doors in a bio-secure environment. The remaining two tests that will take place in Manchester later this month. The match will begin at 3.30 pm IST.
In order to mitigate the spread of the virus, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has issued a list of dos and don’ts in a 74-page booklet.
The Key Points of the match-
- For the toss, only three-person will go out- the two captains Ben Stokes and Jason Holder and referee Chris Broad with no cameras and no handshakes.
- As for all the players, they cannot share gloves, shirts, water bottles, bags, or sweaters.
- There will be no ball boys, and staff will not go within 20 metres of the players on the field.
- The social distancing rule of two square metres must be followed.
- Team sheets will be digital and the scorers will not share pens and pencils.
- Umpires Richard Illingworth and Richard Kettleborough will carry their own bails, and will stop play for cleaning breaks and to sanitise the stumps.
With the International Cricket Council (ICC) banning the use of saliva on the ball, there will be two warnings if the players use saliva and a five-run penalty will be imposed.
On the other hand, the players are staying at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl where room doors can be opened using an app, with no need to touch the handle. However, there is no room service and no lifts.
For journalists covering the match, the ECB has said in an advisory: "On arrival follow the signs for medical screening and once through you’ll walk through a thermal scanner and collect accreditation. Please enter via west gate where you’ll be thermal screened again and accreditation will be scanned. PPE is provided in both spaces (respective areas for reporters and photographers)."
International cricket is set to resume after a break of nearly four months, and the players on either side are eager to put on a performance befitting of the occasion.