Spit, sweat and handshakes: 3 sports habits COVID-19 could change

Pre-match handshakes were abandoned in top football leagues just before the sports shutdown

habits, tennis, coronavirus, COVID-19, saliva, sweat, handshakes
Back in 2018, the ATP introduced towel racks at some events on a trial basis, but not everyone was overjoyed.

Other than leaving the global sporting calendar disrupted this year and making the scheduled for 2021 more packed than expected, the coronavirus outbreak will certainly bring some more changes in the usual habits sportspersons tend to have.

A report by AFP Sport looks at three such long-standing habits which could change forever due to the COVID-19 pandemic once competition resumes.

Saliva to take shine off swing bowling

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Its been a tried and trusted friend to fast bowlers throughout the history of cricket.
But the days of applying saliva to one side of the ball to encourage swing could be over in the aftermath of COVID-19.

“As a bowler I think it would be pretty tough going if we couldn’t shine the ball in a Test match. If its at that stage and were that worried about the spread, I’m not sure wed be playing sport,” said Australia quick Pat Cummins.

Towels in tennis – no touching

Tennis players throwing towels, dripping with sweat and blood and probably a tear or two, at ball boys and girls, has often left fans sympathising for the youngsters.

Moves by officials to tackle the issue took on greater urgency in March when the coronavirus was taking a global grip.

Related news: COVID-19: Wimbledon set to be cancelled for first time since WWII

Behind closed doors in Miki, ball boys and girls on duty at the Davis Cup tie between Japan and Ecuador wore gloves.

Baskets, meanwhile, were made available for players to deposit their towels.

Back in 2018, the ATP introduced towel racks at some events on a trial basis, but not everyone was overjoyed.

“I think having the towel whenever you need it, its very helpful. Its one thing less that you have to think about. I think its the job of the ball kids to provide towels and balls for the players,” said Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas when he was playing at the NextGen Finals in Milan.

Let’s not shake on it

Pre-match handshakes were abandoned in top football leagues just before the sports shutdown.

Premier League leaders Liverpool also banned the used of mascots while Southampton warned against players signing autographs and stopped them posing for selfies.

Away from football, the NBA urged players to opt for the fist bump rather than the long-standing high-five.

Related news: After BCCI, Hockey India and AIFF donate ₹25 lakh each to COVID-19 funds

“I ain’t high-fiving nobody for the rest of my life after this. No more high-fiving. After this corona shit? Wait til you see me and my teammates handshakes after this shit,” NBA superstar LeBron James told the Road Trippin Podcast.

Basketball stars were also told not to take items such as balls or teams shirts to autograph.
US women’s football star Megan Rapinoe said edicts to ban handshakes or even high-fives may be counter-productive anyway.

“We’re going to be sweating all over each other all game, so it sort of defeats the purpose of not doing a handshake,” she told the New York Times in March.

(With inputs from agencies)

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