Anil Kumble-led ICC Cricket Committee has recommended the ban of saliva to take the polish off the ball when the game resumes from the ongoing coronavirus-forced hiatus.
The committee also saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the cricket ball whilst recommending that enhanced hygiene measures are implemented on and around the playing field.
Kumble and Co concluded a conference call convened to specifically address issues related to COVID-19 including maintaining the condition of the match ball and the appointment of non-neutral umpires and referees to international cricket, a release by the International Cricket Council said.
Kumble’s committee heard from the chair of the ICC Medical Advisory Committee Dr Peter Harcourt regarding the elevated risk of the transmission of the virus through saliva, and unanimously agreed to recommend that the use of saliva to polish the ball be prohibited, the governing body said on Monday.
Based on the medical advice that it is highly unlikely that the virus can be transmitted through sweat, the committee saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the ball whilst recommending that enhanced hygiene measures are implemented on and around the playing field.
“We are living through extraordinary times and the recommendations the committee have made today are interim measures to enable us to safely resume cricket in a way that preserves the essence of our game whilst protecting everyone involved,” former India captain Kumble said.
The use of saliva to shine the cricket ball, especially in the red-ball format, is primarily meant for swing bowling but the practice is now being seen as a health risk in a world battling the pandemic.
In another important recommendation, the committee also called for appointments of local umpires.
The current regulations that apply to the appointment of match officials to men’s Test, ODI and T20I matches are summarised below. Since 2002, officials appointed by the ICC must not be from the same country as the participating teams.
|Match Referee||Field Umpire 1||Field Umpire 2||3rd Umpire||4th Umpire|
Given the challenges of international travel with borders being closed, limited commercial flights and mandatory quarantine periods, the committee recommended that local match officials be appointed in the short-term.
The appointments will continue to be made via the ICC from local Elite and international panel referees and umpires. Where there are no elite panel match officials in the country, the best local International Panel match officials will be appointed.
The committee also recommended that the use of technology is increased to support the appointments of a wider pool of umpires from around the world and has proposed an additional DRS review per team per innings is introduced in each format as an interim measure.
The recommendations of Kumble’s team will now be presented to the ICC Chief Executives’ Committee in early June for approval.