Cricketers Replace Handshakes With Fist Bumps Over Coronavirus Fears

03 March 2020
Coronavirus, Covid-19, Cricket, England Cricket, Sri Lanka, Hand shaking, Sport
First it came for Fashion Week. Now, Covid-19 is threatening cricket

The world is on the cusp of a global pandemic. With almost 90,000 cases of the coronavirus identified in around 70 countries – a number that’s escalating all the time – a collective feeling of low-key impending doom is becoming more visceral every single day.

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The world is in “uncharted territory”, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, and as such, the general public is on high alert; side-eyeing anyone who so much as clears their throat on public transport.

Even though the vast majority of Covid-19 cases – just under 90 per cent – are in China, with most in Hubei province, where the virus originated, efforts to stop the spread have wreaked havoc on the sporting landscape, with football, golf, rugby and tennis events postponed or even cancelled.

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Until now, cricket has been largely unaffected. But fresh efforts to curtail the virus will see cricketers rethink their traditional pre-match handshake. England cricket captain Joe Root says his players will use fist bumps to greet the opposition on their tour of Sri Lanka.

“After the illnesses that swept through the squad in South Africa, we are well aware of the importance of keeping contact to a minimum and we’ve been given some really sound and sensible advice from our medical team to help prevent spreading germs and bacteria,” Root told reporters at a press conference.

“We are not shaking hands with each other, using instead the well-established fist bump, and we are washing hands regularly and wiping down surfaces using the antibacterial wipes and gels we’ve been given in our immunity packs.

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“There is no suggestion that the tour will be affected, but of course it is an evolving situation so we are in regular contact with the authorities and will proceed as advised, but at this stage we fully expect the tour to continue as planned.”

England will play the first of their two practice matches from Saturday before the first Test in Galle from March 19 while Colombo hosts the second Test from March 27.

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