Coronavirus: ICC Bans Use Of Saliva On Cricket Ball, Clears COVID Substitute Rule In Tests


The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced several interim changes in playing regulations, including the ban on use of saliva to shine a cricket ball. The world governing body also approved the appointment of home umpires in international series as recommended by its Cricket Committee led by former India leg-spinner 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,” the ICC said in a statement.

Given the bowlers might find it difficult to adjust to this new bowling regulation, the ICC has asked the match officials to be lenient while dealing with saliva usage violation during an initial period. 

However, the governing body specified that after a certain time any violation will lead to them receiving a warning from the umpires, but said that the repeated violation will result in a “5-run penalty to the batting side”.

“Players will not be permitted to use saliva to shine the ball. If a player does apply saliva to the ball, the umpires will manage the situation with some leniency during an initial period of adjustment for the players, but subsequent instances will result in the team receiving a warning,” ICC stated in the release.

“A team can be issued up to two warnings per innings but repeated use of saliva on the ball will result in a 5-run penalty to the batting side. Whenever saliva is applied to the ball, the umpires will be instructed to clean the ball before play recommences,” the ICC added.

The other major interim changes was allowing teams to replace players who display COVID-19 symptoms during a Test match.

“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,” the ICC said in a press release.

Providing teams with a major relief the CEC also confirmed an “additional unsuccessful DRS review” for each team in each innings of a match, across all three formats. This decision was taken keeping in mind that home umpires are less experienced as compared to the ICC’s elite panel umpires.

“The CEC 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,” said the ICC.

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