COVID-19 takes sheen off ball as ICC bans saliva - GulfToday

COVID-19 takes sheen off ball as ICC bans saliva


A view of the International Cricket Council's office in Dubai. File

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

The ICC approved the interim changes with the tweaking in the playing regulations during the pandemic like banning the use of Saliva on the ball and allowing substitutions in Test matches.

An Anil Kumble-led panel of the ICC also approved the use of the home umpires for the bilateral international series to avoid the predicament of travelling during COVID-19.

The Committee includes the likes of former India skipper Rahul Dravid, former England captain Andrew Strauss, former Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene and current Sri Lankan coach Mickey Arthur had recommended the ban of saliva for safety measures.

The changes in the playing regulation were announced a day before the crucial meeting of the ICC, wherein the fate of World Twenty20, to be held in Australian in October-November, will be decided.

The decision about the World Twenty20 will pave the way for Indian Premier League (IPL), which was postponed indefinitely because of COVID-19. The mighty Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) is eyeing the only window remaining to hold the cash-rich league.

Meanwhile, teams will be allowed to replace players displaying symptoms of COVID-19 during a Test match. In line with concussion replacements, the match referee will approve the nearest like-for-like replacement. Earlier also teams were allowed substitution in the Test matches in case of injury but they were allowed to field only not bat or ball. But the new regulations will allow the substitute to bat and bowl as well.

However, the regulation for COVID-19 replacements will not be applicable in ODIs and T20Is.

“The substitution regulation has been approved for Test matches only not shorter formats because it is highly unlikely that any player develops COVID-19 in few hours,” said an ICC spokesperson in an interview with Gulf Today.

“As all the players will be tested before each match and so if there are any pre-existing symptoms that will appear before the match,” he added.

“Players will not be allowed to use saliva to shine the ball. If a player applies saliva, umpires will give a maximum of two warnings per innings with some leniency to let the players get adjusted to the new rules. However, a repeated use of saliva will attract a five-run penalty to the batting side,” said an ICC statement.

However, the use of sweat to shine the ball has not been banned as according to a medical advisory sweat does not spread COVID-19.

When asked whether the touring teams will have to undergo a mandatory quarantine of 14 days, the ICC spokesperson said: “It has nothing to do with the ICC. It purely depends on the two teams and their boards. But we will keep on reviewing the situations from time to time as all these rules are temporary.”

The committee has also confirmed an additional unsuccessful DRS review for each team in each innings of a match, keeping in mind that there may be less experienced umpires on duty at times.

This will increase the number of unsuccessful appeals per innings for each team to three for Tests and two for the white-ball formats.

The ICC cricket operations team will support match referees when processing Code of Conduct breaches, and a neutral Elite Emirates Panel match referee will conduct any hearing remotely via video link.

Meanwhile, ICC also approved a relaxation of rules on apparel logos for the next 12 months. A logo, not exceeding 32 square inches in size, may be placed on the chest of the Test match shirt and sweater in addition to the three other logos allowed as per regulations. As of now, logos on chests are only allowed in ODIs and T20Is.

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