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Priority is health & safety: MCC chief Sangakkara on new ICC guidelines

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) President Kumar Sangakkara

Mumbai, May 31 (UITV/IANS)- Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) President Kumar Sangakkara stated health and safety of the players and officials will be on the top of the priority list when the sport finally returns to the field. All cricket has been suspended since March as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

The former Sri Lanka captain also said it is every player's responsibility to keep the surroundings risk-free for everyone and follow all necessary protocols put in place by the government.

"It's got to be a partnership because when you are under contract, your employer is responsible for creating a safe environment and educating the players and insisting that the environment that they come to work in is very safe," Sangakkara said on Star Sports' show Cricket Connected.

"Players also have the responsibility in turn to understand what the government guidelines are. It's not just about you and I, it's also about how we spread it to other people -- loved ones, the elderly in society -- so you got to really be mindful of that."

Sangakkara also spoke about the restrictions put in place by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the players to follow in the wake of COVID-19 crisis.

One of the most talked-about regulation in the last few days has been ICC recommending to stop the usage of saliva to polish the ball. Meanwhile, there remains no other option than playing the sport behind closed doors in these unprecedented times.

"I understand the guidelines are going to restrict players, playing of the game, it's going to look really weird, and off-putting even for me when I think about it. But the priority is health and safety," Sangakkara said.

"Health is absolutely paramount at this time, especially for players to have the confidence to get back to cricket, to get back to playing, to have grounds may be at some point open to spectators.

"If that environment of safety and health is not there, then the doubts keep coming back, ‘Should we start, should be go back to playing?' So, we have to be really careful there, and understand that all these new rules are to try and make it as safe as possible even though it seems very, very detailed and extensive," he added.