THE resumption of sport in some parts has placed a spotlight on bodily functions and personal hygiene like never before. No handshakes, high fives or cuddling are among some of the new guidelines that have all been laid down in an attempt to prevent any further spread of the virus.

Spitting is another by-product that the authorities are keen to clamp down on, perhaps no bad thing given the amount of fluid that seems to flow from the mouths – and noses – of footballers in particular during a match.

In some sports, spit is more than just what results whenever someone clears their throat. Polishing the ball has always been a pivotal part of cricket, with a dod of saliva usually the most convenient way of getting one side to shine up nicely to help swing bowlers get movement on the ball.

Spinners often also like to add a touch of moisture to help with their action, licking their index finger to help properly grip the ball before delivery.

Now the ICC [International Cricket Council] has recommended the use of saliva be prohibited when cricket resumes, although daubing sweat on the ball will still be permitted.

The move will likely impinge more on red-ball Test cricket than white-ball one-day and T20 internationals, with the white balls needing less manipulation due to their sharper seam, making it easier for spinners to grip.

It all leaves Hamza Tahir somewhat bemused. The Scotland left-arm bowler understands the logic behind the decision given the current climate but can’t see how it could be realistically enforced, especially since a quick lick of the fingers has become an almost subconscious action of many bowlers.

“Thankfully I don’t think it will affect me too much as we play white-ball rather than red-ball cricket,” he said. “I normally just like to dry my hands on the grass before having a bowl.

“But it will be interesting to see what happens once Test cricket resumes. How are they going to check for it?

“It’s natural just for some guys to put their fingers in their mouth when they’re looking to shine the ball. And the rules aren’t clear on things like using sweets. A lot of bowlers suck on Murray Mints to help shine the ball so is that going to be banned too? The ICC haven’t really said.

“But if everyone is going to have to be tested before they can play then you would think it shouldn’t be an issue anyway.”

For now, Tahir is just looking forward to getting back training and playing again, regardless of the guidelines.

The Paisley bowler has watched what was shaping up to be a hectic 2020 schedule completely disintegrate, with tours to the United States and Namibia cancelled and home matches against World Cup finalists New Zealand also falling by the wayside.

Further games this summer against Australia, Nepal and Namibia look set to also be called off. The hope now is that the situation clears sufficiently to allow the T20 World Cup in Australia to proceed as planned in October.

“I had a really good year in 2019 and was looking forward to everything we had planned in 2020,” added Tahir.

“There were big games at the Grange against New Zealand and Australia and a couple of tours to Miami and Namibia and they’ve all gone one by one. We’re just waiting to see what else is going to be called off now.

“I don’t think see we’ll any cricket in Scotland until August at least. It’s been tough to keep going as you’re used to training four times a week and then nothing at all with the bat or ball for 12 weeks.

“I’ve been doing a lot of running to keep myself fit but I’m missing games and being part of the team. I’ve been playing some tape-ball cricket in the garden but it’s not the same.

“I really hope the World Cup goes ahead and I know they’re trying really hard to make sure it can, even behind closed doors. It will give us all something to work towards in the second half of the year.”

There is some light at the end of the tunnel, thankfully. The gradual easing of lockdown ought to allow Tahir to head over to local club Ferguslie for a much-needed bowling session in the nets, while there are plans for Scotland training to resume soon, too.

“We’re looking to train again pretty soon,” revealed the 24-year-old. “It will probably be done individually or maybe in small groups working with individual coaches. Maybe the bowlers working together and the batters doing the same, while trying to respect the social distancing rules.

“It won’t be ideal but it will just be great to feel like we’re gradually working towards getting going again.”