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No sweat now a bigger bowling problem

Back sweat could be the go-to for Australia’s players looking to shine the white ball during the series against England after being told not to use anything from above the neck.The International Cricket Council has already banned the use of saliva to maintain the ball during the COVID-19 pandemic.But it has still been legal to…

Back sweat could be the go-to for Australia’s players looking to shine the white ball during the series against England after being told not to use anything from above the neck.

The International Cricket Council has already banned the use of saliva to maintain the ball during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it has still been legal to take sweat from anywhere on the body and rub it on the ball for the international matches played in England over the past two months.

However, the Aussies, now in England preparing for a series of T20s and ODIs, have been told not to use sweat from their head, face or neck to shine the ball.

That makes sweat from around or even below the belt necessary, although white-ball expert Mitchell Starc said it wouldn’t really be an issue until the Test series against India starts, which at this stage is set for December.

“It might look a bit interesting if bowlers are using sweat off their back, you can’t use it off your arms either,” Starc said from England.

“It‘s probably not something that’s too relevant in white-ball cricket.

“Once that new ball starts to go, you’re trying to keep it dry anyway. It’s more of a question for red-ball cricket.

“No doubt we’ll find out what it’s like in these practice games, and if we need to revisit some planning around it, I’m sure we’ll have a chat before the series gets under way.”

Starc said it had become the “new normal” at training not to use sweat off their heads, and that was on show in the recent England Test series too.

“We haven’t been able to use sweat at all or saliva back in Australia,” he said.

“They are slightly more lenient here being able to use sweat from certain places.

“I think we saw a bit during that England (Test) series, Jofra (Archer) using some sweat off his back and that sort of thing.

“If the world stays as it is for a little while, those restrictions will still be there. That saliva one will probably be around for a lot longer anyway.

“It’s one for the red-ball team to talk about when we get to that point, but at the moment we’re pretty good.”

Australia’s cricketers have been banned from using all sweat and saliva during training sessions with their domestic sides at home and will use their four warm-up games in England this week to adjust further to the change.

They have been assimilating in a biosecure bubble in Derby but have now moved to Southampton ahead of the first match in the three-match T20 series on September 5 (AEST) before three ODIs on September 11, 13 and 16.

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