Cricket Australia is set to begin the team's pre-season later this month under a set of new training protocols devised for the safety of players amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report in 'The Sydney Morning Herald', CA is churning out strategies for resumption of training under the watchful eyes of its chief medical officer Dr John Orchard and head of sports science and sports medicine Alex Kountouris. The duo is working closely with counterparts of other cricket playing nations and are part of committees of the Australian government and the ICC which are trying to find ways for the resumption of sports.
The report said CA's immediate priority is to draw up protocols for players' pre-season, which include barring the use of saliva or sweat to shine the ball during training. CA's head of sports science and sports medicine Kountouris said the coronavirus-forced new normal shouldn't have much impact of teams' training in a sport like cricket.
"There's physical distancing in the nets - there's two or three bowlers in each net. One bowls at a time, the batter is 22 yards away so it's not a big problem," Kountouris said. "We don't see it as too big a problem to manage, but these are the things we're spelling out. This is what you should do: keep your distance, how you should handle the ball, these are things easy to manage."
Kountouris said with social distancing becoming mandatory in the post-COVID world, teams will have to find out new ways of on-field celebrations. "You might not see high-fiving after a wicket or people ruffling someone else's hair. It will be a spaced huddle. It will be the new norm. That's one of those things, the physical distancing for the time being, that will definitely be out until a vaccine or some sort of solution like that (comes up).
"I think we'll have to find a different way to celebrate, they'll have to be innovative," he said. "There are things you won't be able to chop out overnight but people will gradually get used to doing things differently."