Dav Whatmore had been a real journeyman among coaches who had been in charge of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The Indian cricket board took it’s first step towards implementing a truncated domestic season for 2020-21 by issuing a 100-page Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on Sunday, which could potentially affect the careers of two most accomplished coaches: Arun Lal and Australian Dav Whatmore.

“Individuals who are over the age of 60 years, viz support staff, umpires, ground staff and those individuals with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, weakened immunity, should be considered vulnerable and are believed to have higher risk of severe COVID-19,” read one of the guidelines from BCCI’s SOP.


This jeopardises the tenure of Lal, now 65, who guided Bengal to Ranji Trophy final earlier this year and Australian Whatmore, 66, who was appointed by Baroda in April. Whatmore, coach of the World Cup-winning Sri Lankan squad in 1996 and a former coach of Pakistan, had a stint with the Kerala state team before.

Both Lal, a cancer survivor, and Whatmore won’t be able to join the pre-season training camps.

Meanwhile, players will have to sign a consent form before resuming training at their respective centres, the BCCI said in its SOPs to state associations. According to the guidelines, the players will have to sign the form acknowledging the risks involved with resumption of training amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bengal coach Arun Lal and Mukesh Kumar after Bengal defeated Karnataka by 174 runs to enter their first Ranji Trophy final in 13 years at the Eden Gardens
Bengal coach Arun Lal (right) with Mukesh Kumar, one of his frontline pace bowlers, after the team entered the Ranji Trophy final earlier this year. Image Credit: IANS

The 2019-2020 domestic season ended in March but the upcoming season, which usually starts in August, is set to be curtailed due to the health crisis.

“The health and safety of players, staff and stakeholders will be the sole responsibility of respective State Cricket Associations,” read the BCCI guidelines on resumption of cricket.

Support staff, officials and ground staff over 60 years of age and with individuals with underlying medical conditions are barred from attending training camps until “suitable guidelines are issued by the Government”.

From travelling to the stadium to training there, the players will have to follow strict safety protocols.

Before the commencement of the camp, the medical team should acquire travel and medical history (past two weeks) of all players and staff through an online questionnaire. Any player and staff suspected to have COVID-19-like symptoms should undergo PCR tests.

“Two tests one day apart (Day 1 & Day 3) should be done to account for false negatives. If both the test results are negative, only then they should be included in the camp,” read the SOPs.

The players will have to wear a N95 mask (without a valved respirator) on the way to the stadium and will be encouraged to wear eyewear in public places as well as during training.

“A webinar before commencement and in-person education workshop on Day 1 of the camp must be conducted by the CMO (Chief Medical Officer) for all players & staff.”

Players are advised to take their own transportation on way to the stadium. In accordance with the ICC’s ban, the players are barred from using saliva on the ball.