Coronavirus: ICC recommends banning polishing ball with saliva

By Sports Desk May 18, 2020

The ICC has recommended prohibiting using saliva to polish the ball as one of the proposed steps to ensure cricket can return safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus has decimated the 2020 cricket calendar, with the sport – like most around the world – on hold as countries fight against the spread of COVID-19.

The ICC's Cricket Committee convened via conference call and agreed on suggested changes to the governing body's regulations to "mitigate the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus, and protect the safety of players and match officials".

The measures will be put before the ICC Chief Executives' Committee next month for approval.

An ICC statement read: "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 Committee also noted the medical advice that it 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 whilst recommending that enhanced hygiene measures are implemented on and around the playing field."

In addition to banning the use of saliva on the ball, the ICC also put forward alterations to be made regarding the appointment of match officials.

The ICC appoints non-neutral match referees for Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 internationals. The organisation is also responsible for selecting the first field umpire for Tests and ODIs, though the host country can select their own for T20Is.

However, in the short term, the ICC is recommending against non-neutral match officials.

The statement continued: "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."

Cricket Committee chair Anil Kumble said: "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."

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