The ICC committee led by Anil Kumble recommends banning saliva due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wants non-neutral arbitrators

NEW DELHI: Cricket is poised to eliminate one of its oldest practices: the use of saliva to make the ball shine like an Anil Kumble ICC The committee recommended on Monday to ban it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However the ICC Cricket Committee saw no health hazard by continuing to use sweat .

During a video conference meeting, the committee also lobbied to bring back two non-neutral referees (both from the host country) for all international matches, as DRS ensures more accurate decision-making. This is also recommended to slow down travel.

In line with its proposal, the committee has recommended an increase in the use of the DRS review by entries, from two to three.

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We are living through extraordinary times and the recommendations the Committee have made today are interim measures to enable us to safely summarize cricket in a way that preserves the essence of our game while protecting everyone involved, Kumble said 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.

However the bowlers can continue using sweat to shine the ball as it's not a virus transmitter.

"The Committee also noted the medical advice that it is highly unlikely that the virus can be transmitted through sweat .

"... (It) saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the ball while recommending that enhanced hygiene measures are implemented on and around the playing field."

The use of saliva to shine the cricket ball, especially in the red-ball format, is primarily meant for swing bowling but the practice is now being seen as a health risk in a world battling the pandemic.

As the ICC last month contemplated banning the use of saliva as a safety measure in what is expected to be a very different world going ahead, it has thrown the floor open for a fierce debate in the cricket community.

Only time will tell how much imbalance between the bat and the ball will cause everything, but big quick bows like Michael Holding and Waqar Younis They have already expressed their aversion to the idea.

Another notable point discussed at the meeting was the reintroduction of two non-neutral referees into bilateral series at least until time travel is safer.

"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 governing body stated in its release.

The concept of having two neutral umpires officiating in matches came in 2002. From 1994 to 2001, it involved one local and one neutral umpire.

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 match officials from the local International Panel will be appointed.

This effectively means that Anil Chaudhary, Shamshuddin and Nitin Menon can officiate in Test matches at home.

In the event that non-neutral referees are presented, teams may receive an additional DRS review (currently two for each entry).

"The Committee also recommended that the use of technology is increased to support the appointments of a wider pool of umpires from around the world and has proposed an additional DRS review per team per innings is introduced in each format as an interim measure."

The recommendations will be put before the ICC Board for ratification.