Australia will implement stricter protocols around the use of sweat to shine the ball during their England tour than has so far been seen during international cricket’s return.
Early in the pandemic the ICC ruled that no saliva would be allowed to be used to shine the ball but that sweat was permitted due to the lower risk of carrying Covid-19.
That has been the protocol following by both sides during England’s series against West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland but Australia’s bowlers will not be allowed to use sweat from any part of the face, neck or head during the T20I and ODI series next month.
“There’s slightly altered guidelines from what people may have seen from the previous England series here,” fast bowler Mitchell Starc said after Australia had arrived at the Ageas Bowl. “You can’t use sweat from around the face, neck or head and you obviously can’t use saliva.”
Back sweat became England’s go-to option during the Test matches but bowlers during those matches would also frequently be seen applying in from their forehead.
In training prior to leaving Australia the players have not been allowed to use any form of sweat on the ball so Starc said that had already become ingrained while he did not see shining the ball playing as big a factor in limited-overs cricket with the white ball as it does with the red one in Tests.
“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,” he 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.
“No doubt we’ll find out what it’s like in the practice games and whether we need to revisit any planning around it. 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.”
Starc, who is also in Australia’s first-choice Test side, expects similar restrictions to still be in place by the time the home season comes around and that it will be more relevant for the Test team.
“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.”
Australia will play their first intersquad warm-up match on Friday with the 21 players having been split between an Aaron Finch XI and a Pat Cummins XI with a local player making up the numbers.
Finch XI Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Josh Philippe (wk), Daniel Sams, Mitchell Starc, Andrew Tye, Riley Meredith, Nathan Lyon, TBC local player(s)
Cummins XI Matthew Wade, Marcus Stoinis, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Sean Abbott, Pat Cummins (capt), Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood