25th November 2020

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Jofra Archer returns to controlled training after protocol breach

Jofra Archer, whose unauthorised visit to his home in Brighton caused him to miss the second Test, has returned to light training during his period of self-isolation, after the West Indies camp approved a request from the ECB for him to leave his room for exercise during the match.

Archer was fined around £15,000 and given a written warning after making an unauthorised trip to his home in Brighton between the games at the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford. He was also required to serve a five-day isolation period during which he will have two tests for Covid-19. Subject to those test results, he is expected to re-join the full squad on Tuesday.

At just after 7am on Sunday, well before any other players started to prepare for the day’s play, Archer was permitted to go for a run on the Old Trafford outfield. He wore gloves and a mask with ECB medical staff watching on from a safe distance.

Later on Sunday, he returned to the nets in similarly strict conditions. Adopting the same protocols used when England’s bowlers first returned to training, Archer used a box of six balls allocated for only his use and was required to retrieve them after each over. Again, his session was overseen by backroom staff at a safe distance.

Earlier on the fourth day, the ICC’s new protocols governing the use of saliva on a cricket ball had to be put into practice, after an inadvertent transgression from Dom Sibley shortly before the lunch interval.

ALSO READ: No saliva or artificial substances to shine ball – ICC

With Dom Bess at the top of his mark, preparing to bowl the penultimate over of the session, the on-field umpires, Michael Gough and Richard Illingworth came together to examine the ball after Sibley himself had admitted to the accidental use of saliva to polish the ball.

Umpire Gough took out a disinfectant wipe from his pocket, and rubbed down the shiny side of the ball prior to handing it back to Bess, who had claimed the only wicket to fall in the morning session as West Indies went to lunch on 118 for 2, trailling England by 351 runs.

According to the ICC’s revised playing conditions for this series, which is being played in a biosecure environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only sweat may be used to shine the ball. Saliva is considered a potential carrier of the virus, and so all players have been obliged to retrain their ingrained instincts, honed over many years of fielding.

In acknowledgement of the unusual circumstances, the umpires have been encouraged to show initial leniency should they notice a team applying saliva on the ball, after which they will issue two official warnings before docking the offending team five runs.


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