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ICC To Ban The Use Of Saliva To Shine Ball

Cricket   |   May 20, 2020



The resumption of sporting activities ultimately means the introduction of new rules and regulations as things would no longer the same.

Old practices that pose a threat to the health and safety of players, as well as fans, would have to be reviewed, and in the case of cricket, one of such rules would be the use of saliva to shine the ball.

Cricketers have always applied saliva on the ball in order to make it glide better in the air. Constantly shining one side while leaving the other side dull allows the ball to swing better. Saliva has always been used to achieve the shine, as well as sweat. However, all that is about to change due to the pandemic.

Dr Peter Harcourt, who heads the ICC Medical Advisory Committee, has recommended that players should not use saliva to shine the ball again.


This is because it has been observed that one of the ways which the coronavirus is transmitted is through saliva. Allowing players to continue to use saliva to shine the ball increases the chance of contracting the virus on the pitch, if a player is infected.

The committee suggested that sweat can still be used, as there has been no documented transmission of the virus through sweat. Anil Kumble, who chairs the ICC Cricket Committee said, “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.” It is very possible that the use of saliva in the game may return at a later date.

Another recommendation made is to allow the use of local umpires in matches. This is a relaxation of the rule that officials have to be from non-participating countries.

But now, “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 recommendation was made known by a statement from the ICC. The recommendation also includes a DRS referral for each team per innings.

All of these reviews would be brought forward before the ICC board on May 28 for final approval.



Written by: Leon Osamor