Sports habits that could change after coronavirus

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LONDON As the coronavirus brings the international sports calendar to a grinding halt,AFPSportlooks atthreelong-standing habitswhich could change forever once competition resumes. Saliva to take shine off swing bowling — It’s been atried andtrusted friendto fast bowlersthroughout 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,” saidAustralia quick Pat Cummins. “If it’s at that stage and we’re that worried about the spread, I’m not sure we’d be playing sport.” 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. 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. Backin 2018,theATPintroducedtowel racks at some events on a trial basis, but not everyone was overjoyed. “I think having the towel whenever you need it, it’s very helpful. It’s one thing lessthat you havetothink about,” saidGreece’s StefanosTsitsipas when he was playing at the NextGen Finals in Milan. “I think it’s the job of the ball kids to provide towels and balls for the players.” 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. “I ain’t high-fiving nobody for the rest of my life after this,” NBA superstar LeBron James told the “Road Trippin’ Podcast”.“No more high-fiving. —AFP