DUBAI: The cricket committee of International Cricket Council (ICC) has recommended a ban on bowlers from using saliva to shine the ball in view of the health concerns raised due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governing body’s cricket committee, headed by former Indian spinner Anil Kumble, heard medical advice that suggests it is highly unlikely coronavirus can be transmitted through sweat, but there is an elevated risk through saliva. The bowlers can, however, apply sweat to polish the ball.
“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.
The recommendations will be presented for approval in early June. This also included the use of home umpires as opposed to neutrals as an interim step to deal with global travel restrictions. If passed, the ICC may also allow one additional DRS review per team per innings.
The cricket committee heard from Dr Peter Harcourt, chair of ICC’s medical advisory committee, about the high risk of the virus being transmitted through saliva and unanimously agreed to recommend a ban on using saliva to polish the ball.
It also considered medical advice that it is highly unlikely the virus can be transmitted through sweat and saw no need to prohibit its use on the ball. It has called for stricter hygiene on and around the playing field.
International cricket has come to a standstill since mid-March while the Indian Premier League (IPL) is also indefinitely postponed due to the pandemic.