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Coronavirus impact: India might limit usage of saliva for shining ball but Proteas won’t

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The Indian team might avoid using saliva to shine the ball if advised by doctors to combat the novel coronavirus threat, seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said on Wednesday even as the South African team insisted on continuing the practice in the first ODI here.

Bhuvneshwar, however, said a decision on this will be taken by the team doctor during a meeting later on Wednesday.

“We have thought about this thing (not using saliva) but 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,” the 31-year-old pacer, who is returning after recovering from sports hernia surgery, said on the eve of the first ODI here.

Also Read: Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Does the returning pacer fit into India’s ODI plans?

“We will get hit and you people will say you are not bowling well. But it’s a valid point (concern) and let’s see we will have a team meeting today and whatever instruction we get or whatever is the best option, we will do that.

“It all depends on the team doctor and what advice he gives us,” he added.

However, South Africa skipper Quinton de Kock said the visitors will continue with it as they are not affected by the coronavirus.

“We understand the coronavirus thing but it doesn’t change. Hygiene is a big thing. Washing hands, the way you cough or sneeze. It’s about making sure how you personally maintain hygiene and if you do so you will be alright. Be aware of what you touch, just be careful,” de Kock said.

“There are some fine lines but I think both the teams are healthy. We have been tested on our way to India so I think we will still shine the ball. Our team doctor and management have made sure that we all are fit and don’t have coronavirus so we will keep the ball shinning,” he added.

Amid the fast-spreading infection, which has claimed over 4,000 lives globally, Bhuvneshwar said they are taking every possible precaution. He, however, refused to speculate on whether the upcoming Indian Premier League will be disrupted by the deadly disease.

“You cannot say anything right now because it’s taking a dangerous situation in India. But we are taking every precaution we can take. We have a team doctor with us and he is giving us instructions about dos and don’ts. So we hope it won’t go (spread) much further,” he said.

Just like other teams, the Indian players have also been advised to stay away from fans.

“But we cannot avoid fans because they love us, they support us. In the meantime, we can try and not to get too close to them. We can avoid as much as we can,” he said.

South Africa coach Mark Boucher had said that the Proteas could avoid the customary handshakes during their stay in India in the wake of the outbreak.

Despite the COVID-19 wreaking havoc worldwide, South Africa went ahead with the tour only after their medical and security team gave the green signal after doing a risk assessment.

The second match of the series will be played in Lucknow on March 15 and Kolkata on March 18.