ICC moves a step closer to banning use of saliva

ICC's Cricket Committee recommended prohibition of the use of saliva on the ball. (AFP)
ICC's Cricket Committee recommended prohibition of the use of saliva on the ball. (AFP)

By Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Mon 18 May 2020, 9:13 PM

Last updated: Tue 19 May 2020, 6:50 PM

After several weeks of debate over the use of saliva to shine the ball amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Cricket Council, the game's governing body, moved a step closer to breaking with cricket's tradition to protect the players from the clutches of the deadly virus.
On Monday, the ICC's Cricket Committee recommended prohibition of the use of saliva to shine the ball.
The committee, chaired by legendary Indian spinner Anil Kumble, however, stated that the use of sweat on the ball was unlikely to put players at risk from the virus.
"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 ICC said in its statement.
"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."
Kumble said such measures have to be taken to resume cricket at a time when the pandemic has killed more than 300,000 people around the world.
"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," the former Indian captain said.
Due to the travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the committee also advised the ICC to appoint local match officials in short-term basis.
"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 ICC said.
"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 recommendations are likely to be approved by the ICC's Chief Executive Committee in June.

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