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PIX: Check out cricket's new 'normal'

July 11, 2020 11:18 IST

Cricket fans have waited eagerly all summer for some action.

The last time the sweet sound of bat meeting ball in international cricket was heard when Australia beat New Zealand in a one-dayer in front of empty stands in Sydney on March 13.

Strict health protocols are in place for the return of international cricket after a 117-day stoppage caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While the return of Test cricket -- or indeed cricket of any form -- is very welcome after the health crisis, things will be very different.

A look at how different cricket is from what we are all used to:

 

No handshakes

Coronavirus

IMAGE: England Captain Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates during the first Test against the West Indies. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Cricketers tend to come up with new ways to celebrate after dismissing the batsman, but it's unlikely that we'll see cricketers jumping over each other or even shaking hands on the fall of a wicket.

Fist bumps are the new high-fives.

 

Empty stands

England

IMAGE: A view inside the stadium on Day 3 of the 1st Test between England and rhe West Indies at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton, July 10, 2020. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB

The stands at the Ageas Bowl were empty with no spectators present in what is a bio-secure arena to minimise the risk of coronavirus infection.

 

No Saliva

Applying saliva to shine the ball is something bowlers have been used to doing for more than a century. They can't do that anymore. The International Cricket Council as banned the application of saliva on hands/balls.

Trust cricketers to be innovative. England fast bowler Mark Wood said the players used 'back sweat' to shine the ball in the first Test against the West Indies.

 

Headbands in demand

James Anderson

IMAGE: England pace star James Anderson sports a headband. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB

Headbands are back in style.

Bowlers in particular use headbands to ensure that the sweat doesn't drip down, to reduce touching the face.

 

PPE gloves

Stuart Broad

IMAGE: Stuart Broad, England's 12th man in this Test, hands a bottle of water to Jimmy Anderson while wearing protective PPE gloves. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB

According to the new rules, umpires will not take jumpers and caps from bowlers. It is the 12th man's responsibility. Don't miss the PPE gloves.

 

Ben Stokes

IMAGE: Craig de Weymarn, the England team physio, hands Ben Stokes a water bottle. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB

Robot television camera

Coronavirus

IMAGE: A robot television camera follows the players onto the field. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB

The ICC has been tech-savvy for years so it wasn't strange to spot a remote-controlled camera on wheels on the ground.

 

Black Lives Matter movement

West Indies

IMAGE: West Indies Captain Jason Holder and his team-mates take a knee. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The English and West Indian cricketers took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before start of play in the first Test at Southampton, July 8, 2020. The Windies players also wore black gloves and held their fists aloft.

The Black Lives Matter logo has also been sported on the team jerseys of both teams.

 

Social distancing

England

IMAGE: BBC Sport commentators Sir Alastair Cook, Isa Guha and Carlos Brathwaite. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB

From the press box to England's team huddles, social distancing is the norm everywhere.

 

Hand sanitizers on the ground

Mark Wood

IMAGE: Mark Wood uses the boundary edge sanitiser station to clean his hands. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images for ECB

Both teams meet in a 'bio-secure environment' at the Ageas Bowl with daily health checks for everyone on and off the ground.

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