ICC bans use of saliva on the ball, announces 5-run penalty for repeated use

Considering the current situation across the globe, all the changes were recommended by the global body’s cricket committee led by former India skipper Anil Kumble.

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Faf du Plessis. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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In the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, many changes to the sport were anticipated in the post-coronavirus world. The sporting scenario, which has been halted since the past few months, is going to undergo some significant changes upon its resumption in the near future.

Making some interim changes to curb the risk of COVID-19 virus on the field, the ICC, on Tuesday, announced the ban on saliva to shine the ball. When reports suggesting the ban on saliva had started doing rounds before weeks, many former and current players were against the idea of introducing the rule. Saliva plays a vital role in increasing the shine of the ball, especially in Tests.

According to many players, the ban of saliva could completely shift the game in favour of batsmen and make the bowlers look hapless. However, the ICC has nevertheless induced the saliva ban into the sport in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. According to the new rule, umpires can issue two warnings if a player applies saliva on the ball. But the repeated breach of the rule would result in a 5-run penalty.

ICC also introduces like-for-like replacements in Tests

Whenever saliva is applied to the ball, the umpires will be instructed to clean the ball before play commences again. Along with saliva ban, the ICC has also introduced like-for-like replacements in Tests.

If a player is showing symptoms of COVID-19 during a Test, the team would be allowed to replace that player during the match. Along with concussion replacements, the Match Referee will approve the nearest like-for-like replacement during the Test.

However, the like-for-like replacement rule is not yet applicable in ODIs and T20Is. Another rule which the ICC has induced is the appointment of locally-based match officials. Instead of neutral umpires, the ICC will appoint non-neutral umpires from the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Officials and the Emirates ICC International Panel of Match Officials.

ICC’s announcement came ahead of the much-awaited Test series between England and West Indies which is slated to start next month. Considering the current situation across the globe, all the changes were recommended by the global body’s cricket committee led by former India skipper Anil Kumble.

“The ICC Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) ratified recommendations from the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee, aimed at mitigating the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus and protect the safety of players and match officials when cricket resumes,” ICC stated in the Press Release.