The ICC cricket committee has officially recommended that saliva must not be used to shine the ball in light of the health and safety risk it poses across the world currently inhabited by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Meanwhile, the Committee was of the view that it is highly unlikely that the novel coronavirus could be transmitted through sweat and saw no need to prohibit the use of the same to polish the ball. It did, however, call for the implementation of enhanced hygiene measures on and around the playing field. Chaired by Anil Kumble, the Committee sought advice from Dr Peter Harcour, Member of the ICC Medical Advisory Committee before taking the final call.
The recommendations, which also suggest the use of home umpires, will be presented for approval in early June.
If the use of home umpires – as opposed to neutrals – is passed, the ICC may also allow one additional DRS review per team per innings as “an interim measure”.
“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 while protecting everyone involved,” said Kumble in an ICC release.
“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 apex body said in the release.
To swing the ball, especially in the longest format, fast bowlers around the world used to apply saliva on the cherry, but the practice is now being seen as hazardous for health.
As the ICC contemplated banning the use of saliva last month, it became a hot topic of discussion in the cricket fraternity. Only time will tell how much of an imbalance between the bat and ball will the whole thing cause.