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ICC approves coronavirus substitutes, ban on saliva among interim regulation changes
Cricket in COVID-19 Era

ICC approves coronavirus substitutes, ban on saliva among interim regulation changes

The ICC Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) has ratified several recommendations proposed by the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee including the introduction of COVID-19 substitutes and a temporary ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball.

The decision to allow coronavirus replacements stems from fears over the cancellation of a Test match if any player appears to show symptoms of the novel virus.

Teams will thus be permitted to choose a like-for-like replacement in the event of a player displaying symptoms, much like the process of getting approval from the Match Referee for a concussion substitute. However, this regulation will not be implemented in white-ball cricket.

Meanwhile, the ICC has declared a firm stance against the practice of polishing the ball using saliva since it poses the risk of virus transmission, according to advice received from the medical panel.

Umpires have been handed the responsibility of closely monitoring the situation to ensure players refrain from adding their spit on the ball. Players will be shown some leniency during the initial period of adjustment before match officials will proceed to strictly address the issue.

In the case of umpires spotting players using saliva, the fielding team will receive an official warning with multiple violations leading to a five-run penalty.

"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," the ICC media release stated.

Umpires will have to apply a disinfectant spray on the ball each time saliva is smeared on it.

Other regulation changes approved by the ICC CEC relate to additional DRS reviews and relaxation in the rule mandating neutral umpires in Test cricket.

Logistical challenges due to the travel restrictions in the COVID-19 era has prompted the ICC to appoint home umpires in all three formats.

The ICC will "appoint locally based match officials from the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Officials and the Emirates ICC International Panel of Match Officials".

This could give rise to a number of "less experienced umpires" being asked to perform duties at the highest level leading to the need for an additional DRS review.

Each team will be given one extra unsuccessful review in each innings of a match, Test and limited-overs cricket, in order to combat the potential problem of erroneous umpiring decisions.

The new regulations will be put into effect for the first time during the three-match Test series between West Indies and England scheduled to start on July 8.