Saliva on cricket balls is not the biggest risk

Saliva on the cricket ball does risk transmitting COVID-19, but it is not the biggest risk, according to Dr Michael Maze, the Senior Lecturer in Medicine Respiratory Physician (Department of physician) working at the University of Otago.

Dr Michael Maze


Speaking exclusively over telephone from Christchurch, he said, “We need to view this risk in the bigger picture. Cricket is a social game, and there are many risks of transmission: players sit together on the sideline; captains get everyone together for a team talk; batsman confer between overs, fielding teams come together to celebrate a wicket; there are drinks breaks and meal breaks; bowlers get within ½ metre of the umpire while breathing hard; slip fielders are within 2 metres of each other – the list goes on….”

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“Even with the ball, it is passed person to person around the field. Players will wipe their nose with their hand and handle the ball. In short the saliva on the ball is a relatively minor issue. I think that when we are safe to get back to playing cricket, it will be OK to shine the ball anyway you want. Except perhaps sandpaper.”

“Of course COVID-19 is spread only by people who are infected. While there Is transmission of COVID-19 in your community, I would advise against playing cricket. The best way to get back to playing cricket is to control the epidemic. Stay home, stay safe and wait for it to pass. It will, and we will play cricket again,” he concluded.

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