Umpires’ ‘new normal’
Nitin Menon, the youngest member in the ICC elite panel of umpires, considers the Ashes series as the ultimate challenge but he says the biggest challenge in prevailing circumstances is to ensure that the players, knowingly or unknowingly, don’t apply saliva on the ball.
“The main challenge will be of ball management, more so in Tests. Initially, we will give a friendly warning to the players before applying the law, like we do it when someone is running dangerously on the pitch,” Menon, 36, said.
“The players are most likely to apply saliva by mistake than deliberately. So, we will act accordingly. More details on playing conditions will come after the series in England (starting next month), then we will know more on how to go about recent changes made to the game,” said the 36-year-old Indore-based umpire.
Then there are also the social distancing norms that need to be followed.
“Wearing gloves could be an individual choice for umpires but we have decided that we will keep sanitizers in our pockets. After the fall of a wicket and drinks break, we have to hold the ball, so just to be safe… And by chance if a player puts saliva on the ball, we will have to immediately sanitise it.”