Coronavirus fears: 'India might consider banning using saliva for shining cricket balls'
India might consider banning the use of saliva to shine the cricket ball in upcoming South Africa series over coronavirus fears, paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar said Wednesday.
Despite the number of cases in India going to 60 in four days, the series against South Africa will go ahead.
According to the World Health Organization, the virus can be spread when small droplets containing it land on objects that are then touched by a person, who then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
Kumar added the Indian side would consult doctors whether to use saliva on one side of the ball to gain movement in the air.
"I can't say right now we will not use saliva because if we don't use saliva then how will we shine the ball?" Kumar told reporters.
"Then we will get hit and you people will say you are not bowling well."
Kumar said bowlers would follow instructions from the doctors: "Whatever instruction we get or whatever is the best option we will do." The players have already been instructed to stay away from fans.
‘South African players to avoid handshakes’
South Africa head coach Mark Boucher has said his players would avoid handshakes at matches because of the coronavirus fears.
The decision to go ahead with the tour was given by Cricket South Africa after the medical and security experts gave it a green signal.
South Africa skipper Quinton De Kock said both teams had been tested for the virus and were cleared. He added that his side will continue using saliva to shine the ball.
"We will still shine the ball. Our team doctors and management have made sure we are all fit and don't have coronavirus. We will still attend to that and keep the ball shining," he told reporters ahead of first ODI.
The first ODI of the three-match series will be played in Dharamsala on March 12.