COVID-19 threat: ICC approves interim regulation changes12

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed interim changes to its playing regulations, which include the ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball and allowing home umpires in international series.

The ICC Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) ratified recommendations from the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee, aimed at mitigating the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus and protect the safety of players and match officials when cricket resumes, ICC stated in a Press release.

No to saliva on the ball

The bowlers will not be allowed to use saliva for maintaining the shine of the ball. The recommendation is implemented to mitigate the threat of the virus spread from a potential career to other players. Experts though have expressed concerns that the move will make tilt the scale heavily in favour of the batters as the fast bowlers will struggle to generate swing.

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.

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 in a player displays signs of an influenza like illness during the match.

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

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 Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Officials and the Emirates ICC International Panel of Match Officials.

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.

The ICC Cricket Committee had earlier issued the recommendations and details on appointment of match officials.

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.

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