Old habits die hard: James Anderson forgets social distancing guidelines during charged wicket celebration

England vs West Indies, 1st Test: The ICC in its list of dos and don’ts for the safe return of sport in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic has ‘strongly discouraged’ on-field behaviour, including celebrations with body contact.

James Anderson celebrates the wicket of Roston Chase during England’s 1st Test vs West Indies (AP Photo)


  • James Andeerson was seen hugging his teammates during a charged wicket celebration on Friday
  • The ICC has ‘strongly discouraged’ celebrations with body contact on the field
  • Anderson took 3 wickets as West Indies sealed a 114-run first innings lead

England fast bowler James Anderson was seen celebrating Roston Chase’s wicket by hugging his teammates, momentarily forgetting ICC’s new social distancing guidelines during Day 3 of the 1st Test against West Indies in Southampton.

Anderson was spotted embracing his teammates while celebrating the wicket in the final session of Friday’s gripping contest at the Ageas Bowl. Anderson was made to work hard for the wicket and he got his man after the on-field decision for LBW was overturned after a DRS replay.

Anderson was charged as the big screen flashed out that brought the end of an 81-run stand between Chase and wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich for the 6th wicket.

“Not so much social distancing there. Old habits die hard,” Nasser Hussain, who was on commentary duty for Sky Sports, said.

It was a departure from the normal as England and West Indies players were otherwise seen celebrating their wickets with limited boy contact, as per ICC’s latest guidelines.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a list of dos and don’ts as part of its guidelines for the safe return of sport in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Among other things, the ICC said ‘on-field behaviour that includes celebrations with body contact, and shared use of drink bottles, towels and equipment can pose a risk in cricket and should be strongly discouraged.’

Notably, it was James Anderson who led the show during England’s intra-squad practice match by coming up with a socially-distant wicket celebration and using hand sanitiser along the boundary rope earlier this month.

In the lead up to the first Test, a lot was said about how difficult it is going to be for players to get used to the new guidelines, including the ban on the usage of saliva, given the habits have part of the sport for a very, very long time.

On Friday, Anderson was at his usual self as he finished with figures of 3/62 while captain Ben Stokes took 4 for 49 to bowl out West Indies for 318. Jason Holder’s men managed a crucial 114-run lead after fifties from Dowrich (61), and Kraigg Brathwaite (65). Roston Chase (47) and Shamarh Brooks (39) came up with crucial contributions as well.

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