Confirming the recommendations made by the Anil Kumble-led committee, the International Cricket Council on Tuesday confirmed interim changes to the game’s playing regulations, which include the ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball and allowing home umpires in international series.

ICC Chief Executives’ Committee ratified recommendations from Kumble’s committee, aimed at mitigating the risks posed by coronavirus and protect the safety of players and match officials when cricket resumes.

On Tuesday, West Indies cricketers reached England for a three-match Test series scheduled to start in July. WI captain Jason Holder said international cricket will take a “huge step forward” following easing of coronavirus lockdown in England as his team arrived in Manchester after testing negative for the virus back home.

The series is likely to mark the return of international cricket which has been suspended since March.

Here are the details of the changes to the game as confirmed by ICC:

Covid-19 replacements

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.

However, the regulation for Covid-19 replacements will not be applicable in ODIs and T20Is.

Former England captain Mike Atherton had said that ICC should actually consider allowing injury substitutes.

“If you remember, Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute for Steve Smith last year, and what will probably happen, as just a short-term measure, is if there’s an injury that’ll require someone to go to hospital, they’ll probably allow a substitute for that, whether it’s a broken finger or a torn hamstring or whatever,” Atherton had said.

Ban on applying saliva to the ball

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.

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.

Kumble’s committee had 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.

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.

Non-neutral umpires

The requirement to appoint neutral match officials will be temporarily removed from the playing conditions for all international formats owing to the current logistical challenges with international travel. The ICC will be able to appoint locally based match officials from the elite panel of match officials and the ICC international panel of match officials.

This means India’s C Shamshuddin, Anil Chaudhary and Nitin Menon will be seen officiating during the home series against England next year with Javagal Srinath being the match referee, reported PTI.

The previous 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.

Pre-Covid-19 regulations

Match Referee  Field Umpire 1  Field Umpire 2  3rd Umpire  4th Umpire 
Test  ICC  ICC  ICC  ICC  Host 
ODI  ICC  ICC  Host  ICC  Host 
T20I  ICC   Host  Host   Host  Host  

Additional DRS reviews

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.

The ICC cricket operations team will support match referees when processing code of conduct breaches, and a neutral elite panel match referee will conduct any hearing remotely via video link.

Additional logo allowed

Meanwhile, the CEC has also approved a relaxation of rules on apparel logos for the next 12 months.

A logo, not exceeding 32 square inches in size, may be placed on the chest of the Test match shirt and sweater in addition to the three other logos allowed as per regulations. As of now, logos on chests are only allowed in ODIs and T20Is.