Saliva shine, neutral umpires out in ICC changes
Players will be allowed to use sweat to help shine cricket balls but not spit, while changes to the DRS and the way umpires are assigned have been recommended
Cricket Network with AAP
19 May 2020, 07:55 AM AEST
The use of saliva to polish cricket balls, the end of neutral umpires and an additional use of the Decision Review System per innings are all measures set to be introduced to international cricket's playing conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Cricket Council's 16-person Cricket Committee, chaired by former India spinner Anil Kumble and including former Australia women's captain Belinda Clark, recommended that sweat could still be used to polish the ball because medical advice shows "it is highly unlikely that the virus can be transmitted" that way.
The recommendations would be presented to the ICC's Chief Executives' Committee for approval in early June, after which they will be adopted into playing conditions for international cricket.
The regulations will then be assessed by individual member boards for adoption in their own domestic playing conditions.
Reports the ICC was to legalise ball tampering have proved unfounded amid numerous suggestions sparked by fears bowlers would be unable to shine the red ball in Test and first-class cricket due to health fears.
Shane Warne went as far to suggested using weighted balls to help pace bowlers generate swing, while Australian kit manufacturer Kookaburra says it is developing a wax applicator to enhance shine and aid swing.
Teams will be allowed to take sweat from their forehead or arms and use that to help shine the ball, but licking fingers to apply saliva will be outlawed.
No detail has been provided on how the measures will be enforced, or what the penalty will be for breaking them.
The ICC's Cricket Committee also recommended on Monday that local match officials be appointed for all international cricket in the short term – an end to the use of neutral umpires in elite cricket – "given the challenges of international travel with borders being closed, limited commercial flights and mandatory quarantine periods."
The ICC's Elite Panel – a select group of 10 umpires deemed the world's best, including Australians Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker – are used in almost all Test matches around the world since its introduction in 2002.
If there are not enough Elite Panel umpires available, then umpires from the ICC's International Panel can be used. This includes four Australians: Shawn Craig, Paul Wilson, Sam Nogajski and Gerard Abood.
The ICC updates its umpire panels on July 1 annually.
An additional DRS review per team per innings is also set to be introduced in each of cricket's formats as an interim measure.
"We are living through extraordinary times," committee chair Kumble said.
"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."