ICC bans use of saliva on ball and to allow COVID-19 replacements in Tests


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The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday confirmed interim changes to its playing regulation as recommended by the ICC Cricket Committee.

The new regulation includes the ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball, allowing home umpires in international series, additional DRS reviews and relaxation of rules regarding the placement of brand logos on a Test match jersey.

Use of saliva on ball is banned

The ICC Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) affirmed recommendations from the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee and prohibited the use of saliva on the ball. If players do so subsequently, umpires will give a warning to the bowling side.

The ICC media release further noted that each team can be issued up to two warnings per innings and on exceeding that, the batting side will be awarded a five-run penalty. ICC said in its media 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.”

Non-neutral umpires and additional DRS

The apex body further repealed the requirement of appointing neutral umpires in all international formats of cricket, citing current logistic changes in international travels as a reason.

However, ICC will allow an extra DRS per innings, considering the possibility of the number of unsuccessful appeals rising due to appointment of local umpires, who aren’t so experienced. This will increase the number of unsuccessful appeals per innings for each team to three for Tests and two for the white-ball formats. 

COVID-19 substitution allowed in Tests

Just like the concussion substitute, teams will be able to replace players displaying COVID-19 symptoms, with the Match Referee approving the nearest like-for-like replacement. However, it is only applicable to Tests.

“In line with concussion replacements, the Match Referee will approve the nearest like-for-like replacement. However, the regulation for COVID-19 replacements will not be applicable in ODIs and T20Is.”

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