ICC confirms saliva ban, COVID-19 replacements amid pandemic

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball and the approval of COVID-19 replacements in test matches were among the interim regulation changes confirmed by world cricket’s governing body on Tuesday.

The International Cricket Council will also allow home umpires in international series because of restrictions to international travel, and approved an additional unsuccessful DRS review for each team in each innings of a match in all formats because “there may be less-experienced umpires on duty at times.”

The ICC said it was ratifying recommendations previously made by its chief executives’ committee with the aim of “mitigating the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus and protect the safety of players and match officials when cricket resumes.”

If a player applies saliva to the ball, typically in an effort to make it swing more, umpires will initially be lenient toward teams “during an initial period of adjustment,” the ICC said.


Subsequent instances will lead to a team receiving a warning. Repeated use of saliva on the ball will result in a five-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.

Sweat can still be used to polish the ball, however.

The ICC said COVID-19 replacements will be allowed in tests for players displaying symptoms. They must be like-for-like changes, as with a concussion.

They are not applicable in ODIs or Twenty20 internationals.


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