The International Cricket Council (ICC), on Monday, officially recommended that saliva must not be used to shine the ball in order to mitigate the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus, and protect the safety of players and match officials.

Among other important changes to directives, the Anil Kumble-led technical committee has also allowed the use of an extra DRS referral in each format on an interim basis while also permitting the appointment of non-neutral umpires and match referees in the wake of the stringent border control currently in place around the world.

Pink ball (Credits: Twitter)

No saliva on ball:

The ICC Cricket 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 players, however, are allowed to use sweat to shine the ball. The ICC committee took the decision after noting that is highly unlikely that the virus can be transmitted through sweat and saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the ball. At the same time, the committee also recommended that enhanced hygiene measures are implemented on and around the playing field.

Other changes:

In other changes, the cricket committee also recommended the relaxation of the current system of umpire and match referee allotments for all international games. The committee has allowed officials of participating nations to adjudicate given the logistical challenges for umpires to cross international borders. The appointments, however, will continue to be made via the ICC from local Elite and International Panel referees and umpires.

“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 ICC media release stated.

The teams have also been granted an additional DRS referral per innings per format.

“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,” ICC Cricket Committee Chairman Anil Kumble said.

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