The International Cricket Council recommended appointing Chief Medical Officers and 14-day pre-match isolation training camps in guidelines issued on Friday for the safe resumption of cricket after the break due to coronavirus pandemic.
The governing body also suggested considering chartered flights and seat spacing to ensure physical distancing.
The document is meant to assist the member nations in restarting cricket activity in their countries as government restrictions owing to Covid-19 pandemic start to relax.
For restarting international cricket in a phased manner, the ICC suggested appointing a Chief Medical Officer and/or Biosafety Official who will be responsible for implementing government regulations and the biosafety plan to resume training and competition.
The ICC wanted member nations to consider “the need for a pre-match isolation training camp with health, temperature checks and coronavirus testing – e.g. at least 14 days prior to travel to ensure the team is Covid-19 free.”
Players and umpires should maintain physical distancing on the cricket field and that includes no handing over of player items (cap, towels, sunglasses, jumpers) to the umpire or teammates, the guidelines said.
“The ICC advises its Members to use these guidelines as the basis to create their own policies for return to cricket activity in compliance, in all cases, with local and national government regulations (which should always take precedence) and to ensure the cricket community applies the necessary safety measures when resuming cricket,” a press release from the governing body stated.
It has been developed by the ICC Medical Advisory Committee in consultation with medical representatives from the members, and provides guidance for the safe resumption of community cricket, domestic professional cricket and international cricket.
Bowlers at higher risk
As far as the bowlers are concerned, the apex body has issued specific guidelines considering their workload and the risk they run of getting injured. Recommendations included having a larger squad for reduced workload.
“Bowlers are at a particularly high risk of injury on return to play after a period of enforced time-out.
“When looking at timescales, consideration needs to be given to the age and physical preparedness as this will influence the risk and length of time required to develop appropriate bowling loads that will allow a safe and effective return to international cricket,” the document said.
The ICC also suggested format-specific training periods for bowlers all over the world, allowing them a minimum of 5-6 weeks of training, with the last three weeks involving bowling at match intensity in order to facilitate their return to T20Is. The minimum preparation period for ODIs has been set at six weeks while for Tests, it recommended a preparation time of up to 2-3 months with the last 4-5 weeks involving bowling at full throttle.
The PDF of the guidelines is available here.