Off The Field

Covid-19 substitutes a necessity in cricket now: ICC Cricket Committee chief Anil Kumble

Written by Vipin Darwade

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has come up with guidelines to make sure the sport resumes in a safe environment in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic but a lot of ‘watch and learn’ will be involved, according to Cricket Committee chairman and legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble.

Speaking to India Today Consulting Editor, Rajdeep Sardesai, Anil Kumble said Covid-19 substitutes are a necessity to the sport in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The ICC approved the recommendations of the Cricket Committee earlier this week, thereby allowing Covid-19 substitutes in Tests and banning the use of saliva on the cricket ball. Apart from these, the ICC also allowed non-neutral umpires in all international formats and the use of an unsuccessful review for each team in each innings of a match.

Anil Kumble said the Covid-19 substitute recommendation came from the medical advisory team of the ICC and that any player showing symptoms during a Test match will not be eligible to play the remainder of the contest.

“Covid-19 substitute (suggestion) came from the medical advisory team. The team believes that if any kind of symptom you develop, there have been many times players have developed flu symptoms and then they have come back on the 3rd day feeling better and come back into the Test match,” Anil Kumble said.

“Whereas, in these Covid-19 times, the medical advisory team advised that if any player develops symptoms, they should be out of the game completely. He should be treated like a concussion substitute wherein a like to like replacement should come in. He’s out of the game.

“The substitute will be treated like a concussions substitute so that he can play and participate in the game. The player with symptoms will be out of the game.”

Watch and learn: Anil Kumble on cricket in Covid-19 crisis

Anil Kumble also said that the ICC recommendations are only going to be interim measures to help play the sport in a safe environment.

However, the Cricket Committee chief said it’s not going to be possible to monitor each and every player’s movement on and off the field and it’s also the individual’s responsibility to take care of the health and safety.

“Even the dressing room environment may not be the same. It’s the new normal. We may have to create certain distancing measures there,” Kumble said.

“On the field, it’s not easy to create that. I mean, football has already come back in some form.

“We have to closely monitor this. There is no fixed solution as things keep changing. We are hoping the recommendations we have made will enable the sport to come back. And then watch and learn. That’s the message. You have to closely monitor each day as it comes and take it as it comes.

“It’s not going to be easy. You can’t really survey every player or what he does. It’s the individual’s responsibility as well as how he takes care of health and safety. At the same time, within the ground, there will be precautionary measures that will be done by the cricket boards.”

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Vipin Darwade