Kumar Sangakkara on ICC's new guidelines: Cricket will look weird

Updated: Jun 01, 2020, 07:59 IST | PTI | Colombo

Former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara says ICC's new guidelines due to COVID-19 pandemic are off-putting but necessary to ensure safety and health of everyone involved

Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara

Sri Lankan batting great Kumar Sangakkara says it will look "really weird" and "off-putting" to play cricket under the strict guidelines laid down by the ICC but he understands that there is no better option.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) recently come out with comprehensive guidelines to get the sport up and running around the world while at the same time maintaining the highest safety protocols.

"I understand the guidelines are going to restrict players, playing of the game, it's going to look really weird, and off-putting even for me when I think about it," Sangakkara said on the Star Sports show Cricket Connected.

Team India players get into a huddle during their 2019 ICC World Cup match against England at Edgbaston. Under the International Cricket Council'snew guidelines that prescribe social distancing, the huddle will have to be done away with. Pic/Getty Images
Team India players get into a huddle during their 2019 ICC World Cup match against England at Edgbaston. Under the International Cricket Council'snew guidelines that prescribe social distancing, the huddle will have to be done away with. Pic/Getty Images

"But the priority is health and safety. Health is absolutely paramount at this time, especially for players to have the confidence to get back to cricket, to get back to playing, to have grounds may be at some point open to spectators."

The safety measures announced by ICC include the appointment of chief medical officers, a 14-day pre-match isolation training camp and use of gloves by umpires while handling the ball.

Weighing on the governing body's guidelines, Sangakkara, who is also President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), said: "It's got to be a partnership because when you are under contract, your employer is responsible for creating a safe environment and educating the players and insisting that the environment that they come to work in is very safe.

"Players also have the responsibility in turn to understand what the government guidelines are. It's not just about you and me, it's also about how we spread it to other people—loved ones, the elderly in society—so you got to really be mindful of that."

The former Sri Lanka captain said it is important to understand that these rules are for the safety of everyone associated with the game.

"If that environment of safety and health is not there, then the doubts keep coming back, 'Should we start, should be go back to playing?' So, we have to be really careful there, and understand that all these new rules are to try and make it as safe as possible even though it seems very, very detailed and extensive," he said.

Sri Lankan cricketers to train from Monday

A group of 13 Sri Lankan cricketers, comprising mainly bowlers, will resume training on Monday, the country's cricket board said on Sunday. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement that a "selected squad of 13 members will undergo a 12-day Residential Training Camp at the Colombo Cricket Club." SLC's coaching and support staff will overseeing the training.

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