Sat, 06 Jun 2020

Cricket Australia's (CA) head of science and medicine Alex Kountouris has revealed that the governing body will consider disinfecting the ball as the sport tries to adapt to the risk of the coronavirus.

Earlier this week the ICC cricket committee recommended a ban on using saliva on the ball at international level but said that sweat would be permitted as it was deemed a lower risk.

How to maintain the cricket ball has become a major talking point recently after it was found that the passing on of saliva is deemed a significant risk of transmitting Covid-19.

Cricket, like most global sports around the world, is trying to work towards a return to the game after the shutdown but still has major issues to discuss, maintaining the ball being one of them.

Kountouris, who was speaking to reporters via a video chat, said the option of using disinfectant on the ball will be discussed by the board.

"Disinfecting the ball is a consideration. [We] don't know the impact on the ball as we haven't tested it yet," Kountouris said.

"The ball being leather it's harder to disinfect because it's got little nooks and crevices so we don't know how effective it's going to be, we don't know how infected the ball is going to get and we don't know if it's going to be allowed.

"It is an absolute consideration. Everything is on the table and everything is being considered.

"From an Australian cricket perspective, probably other countries are going to play before us so we've got a chance to work with the ICC and the other countries to see what they come up with and take whatever steps we need to for making sure there's a lower risk.

"The sweat, saliva and the ball itself is only one risk factor. There's a whole bunch of other stuff: hygiene, sanitising, physical distancing, not sharing equipment are going to be part of the overall risk."

Professional cricketers in Australia will be returning to training over the next couple of weeks with guidelines in place to manage the risk factors.

Kountouris did acknowledge though that some habits such as players licking their fingers before touching the ball will be difficult to break.

"There's going to be a steep learning curve and hopefully we've got time to practice some of that stuff but there are going to be mistakes at some point," he said.

"I don't think we've worked out how we are going to deal with those mistakes, what the outcome will be.

"I imagine we are going to take a common sense approach and understand that people make mistakes and things are not going to be perfect.

"But if we can do most things right, most of the time, we are going to be okay."

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