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COVID-19: ICC Cricket Committee recommends ban on use of saliva to shine ball

The recommendation to ban the use of saliva to shine balls is to mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 and to protect the players and match officials.

May 19, 2020 11:27 IST
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The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) cricket committee on May 18 recommended the ban on the use of saliva to shine balls during matches. The recommendation will help in mitigating the risks posed by COVID-19 and will protect the players and match officials.

The committee that was chaired by former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble, concluded a conference call to specifically address the issues related to COVID-19. The virtual call also included maintaining the condition of the match ball and the appointment of referees and non-neutral umpires to the international cricket.

The recommendations proposed by the cricket committee will be presented to the ICC Chief Executives Committee in early June 2020 for the approval.

Recommendation to ban the use of saliva on cricket ball:

Shining the cricket ball is one of the major things for bowlers as it extracts some swing from the match. As the game starts to go in the favour of batsmen, bowlers try everything to trouble the batsmen.

As per the ICC release, the cricket committee heard from the Chair of the ICC Medical Advisory Committee, Dr. Peter Harcourt, who stated the elevated risk of the virus transmission through saliva. The committee then unanimously agreed to recommend that the use of saliva to shine the ball must be prohibited.

The cricket committee noted the medical advice that it is unlikely that the virus will be transmitted through sweat and there will be no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the ball. However, as per the release, there is a recommendation of hygienic measures on and around the playing field.

Appointments of non-neutral umpire and referee for international matches:

As the International travel takes a hit due to COVID-19, the cricket committee also proposed that the ICC must consider the appointments of non-neutral umpires and referees for all the international matches.

The releases stated that because of the challenges to international travels with the borders being closed, mandatory quarantine periods, and limited commercial flights, the cricket committee recommends that the local officials must be appointed in the short term.

The cricket committee release also added that the appointment will continue to be made via ICC from Local Elite and International Panel Referees and Umpires. As there are no Elite panel match officials in the country, the best local international match officials will be appointed for the match.

The cricket committee also highlighted that the use of technology has been increased to support the appointments of the wide pool of umpires from all over the world. It also proposed an additional DRS review per team per innings must be introduced in each format as an interim measure.

ICC Cricket Committee Chair, Anil Kumble stated that the recommendations made by the committee are interim measures that will enable to safely resume cricket and will preserve the essence of the game while protecting everyone involved.

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