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Reserve players doing the job of ball boys, cleaning breaks to sanitise stumps and bails, reporters and photographers covering matches in personal protective equipment (PPE) — an unusual Test series between England and the West Indies starts on Wednesday.

In the middle of the novel coronavirus pandemic, international cricket will resume at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. The Test — and the two that will follow in Manchester later this month — will be played without spectators in a bio-secure environment. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has issued a list of do’s and don’ts in a 74-page booklet that it has sent to Southampton.

Only the two captains, Ben Stokes and Jason Holder, and match referee Chris Broad will go out for the toss, says the booklet. There will be no cameras at the toss, and no handshakes after.

Umpires Richard Illingworth and Richard Kettleborough will carry their own bails, and will stop play for cleaning breaks and to sanitise the stumps.

The Daily Telegraph reported, quoting Elworthy, that the venue will have an inner and an outer zone, and “special isolation units in the ground”. The ICC has approved a Covid substitute, should a player show symptoms. The game will, however, go on.

The players are staying at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl where, Elworthy has said, room doors can be opened using an app, with no need to touch the handle. There is no room service and no lifts. The teams have been preparing for the series in a bio-secure environment, with regular health checks.
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