Test cricket is back


All you cricket fans out there among the blog’s readers (yes, both of you) will be pleased to learn that Test cricket has begun again. In the US there are a lot of debates going on about when and how to bring back professional sports, discussions that struggle to keep up with the changing rate of covid-19 infections. I had assumed that cricket was also on hiatus and so was surprised that a Test match, the highest level of international cricket that lasts five days, had come back with the West Indies scheduled to play three Tests in England. The first Test began on Wednesday and ends today this article explains what changes have been made as a result of the covid-19 virus.

The players and officials are required to stay at the on-site hotels at each ground. All the players and officials and staff members from both the teams will also be screened daily for symptoms and regularly tested for COVID-19 throughout the match. The bio-secure grounds have been divided into designated zones to keep the two teams, match officials, ground staff and the media separate. The movement between the zones will also be strictly limited.

Because Test matches last five days, teams will be allowed to make a substitution for any player who develops covid-19 symptoms during the game,

To minimize the need for travel, the requirement that umpires be from neutral countries (i.e., are not from either of the two teams playing) is being relaxed.

There will be no fans in the stadiums and crowd noise will be added to the telecast. (Is that really necessary?) The lack of fans in the stadium may not be too much of a problem for Test matches because those matches are more sedate and attendance tends to be low, unless they are between teams that have a long-standing rivalry, such as England vs. Australia or India vs. Pakistan. But it will be problematic for the shorter forms of the game, like the one-day version or the three-hour version, which is where much of the money lies. The Indian Premier League, for example, has fans packing the stadiums for its three-hour games and they have fireworks and cheerleaders and all manner of attractions that result in huge crowds. I do not know what the future of that format is.

Players will also no longer be allowed to put saliva on the ball. This was always an awful practice and I am glad that covid-19 has caused it to be abolished. It also resulted in cheating scandals where players (in one case the Sri Lankan cricket captain) were accused of eating sticky candies and then putting that sticky saliva on the ball, which is against the rules. By eliminating all saliva, that gets rid of the problem of having to monitor what players are eating on the field.

I was listening to an interview about the restart of baseball where new rules will eliminate spitting. Baseball players seem to spit all the time and it is gross. Apparently some players are complaining about not being allowed to spit because it is supposedly part of the tradition of the game. Why that is so baffles me, unless it is because players chew tobacco. If that is the case, then eliminating spitting should be even more welcomed because chewing tobacco is a highly dangerous practice that can lead to mouth cancer. Is there any other sport where players chew tobacco?

Comments

  1. Ray says

    Umm, “Text match”? [I had assumed that cricket was also on hiatus and so was surprised that a ‘Text match’, the highest level of international cricket that lasts five days, had come back ] I assume it’s a typo.

    [Yes, it was a typo. I corrected it. Thanks. -- Mano]

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … those matches are more sedate …

    Will there be medical personnel to revive the comatose when (if) something happens?

  3. jrkrideau says

    players chew tobacco.
    I expect that is where the habit comes from. Chewing tobacco was ubiquitous in the late 19th and early 20th century in much of Canada and the USA. Bars had spittoons, ugh. I had a older cousin who chewed it up until the 1980’s.

    One of the very first bits of French I remember reading was the “Défense de cracher sur le plancher” (No spitting on the floor) signs that still were in railway waiting rooms in the 1960--1970’s.

  4. says

    Baseball and cricket both have long periods of inaction for those on the field. It’s why many baseball players chew tobacco, and engage in “pranks” (which are never funny). There’s a push to gum instead of tobacco after the death of Tony Gwynn by mouth cancer, but that’s just as disgusting (i.e. open mouth chewers, bubble poppers).

    Players will also no longer be allowed to put saliva on the ball. This was always an awful practice and I am glad that covid-19 has caused it to be abolished. It also resulted in cheating scandals where players (in one case the Sri Lankan cricket captain) were accused of eating sticky candies and then putting that sticky saliva on the ball, which is against the rules.

    Baseball has a long history of players cheating with substances -- spit, emery boards and nail files (Phil Niekro), etc. One form of cheating that cricket bowlers can’t do is hide a thumbtack because they don’t wear catching gloves.

    There will be no fans in the stadiums and crowd noise will be added to the telecast. (Is that really necessary?) The lack of fans [. . .] will be problematic for the shorter forms of the game, like the one-day version or the three-hour version,

    I don’t think so. Baseball players in Korea and Taiwan noticed the lack of fans, but it didn’t affect their play. For fans watching on TV and the internet, it didn’t affect the enjoyment. And the first Formula 1 races had no fans at all, but since the action is never on the crowd, it’s not an issue. Maybe the cricket venues can do what baseball teams did: put stuffed dolls in the seats, and start hiring cheerleaders who have no contact with the players.

  5. billseymour says

    I’m a baseball fan. Living in St. Louis, Missouri as I do, it’s pretty much necessary to be a Cardinals fan. (It’s also OK to be a Cubs fan…we think they’re cute.)

    But I also appreciate your posts about cricket, especially when you explain the game and its jargon.

    I agree that all the spitting is disgusting; but I don’t think that many players chew tobacco anymore. When the TV pans to the dugout, the players mostly seem to be chewing sunflower seeds.

  6. Silentbob says

    @3 jrkrideau

    One of the very first bits of French I remember reading was the “Défense de cracher sur le plancher” (No spitting on the floor) signs that still were in railway waiting rooms in the 1960--1970’s.

    In my home town of Melbourne, Australia the Victorian-era Flinders St Railway Station still has “Do Not Spit” painted on the walls in the old unrefurbished parts. The signs were archaic even when I was a boy, now they’re considered somewhat historical. 🙂

  7. fentex says

    And good to see the Windies won the first!

    In NZ we’ve had Super Rugby being played to packed houses for a month now -- and last Saturday Glorious Canterbury saw off perfidious Auckland as is only right and proper.