No saliva to shine the ball in cricket

Players will be banned from the age-old technique of using saliva to shine a ball when cricket emerges from the shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Several other interim measures designed to ensure the safety of players and match officials have been ratified by the ICC Chief Executives Committee -- including allowing home umpires in international series.

International cricket will resume next month when West Indies face England in a three-match test series.

The tourists arived in Manchester today and will go into quarantine before the first game scheduled for July 8th.

The series will take place without fans and with strict health protocols, including a ban on wiping saliva on the ball -- a method employed to help impart swing.

"If a player does apply saliva to the ball, the umpires will manage the situation with some leniency during an initial period of adjustment for the players, but subsequent instances will result in the team receiving a warning," the ICC said.

Two warnings will result in a five-run penalty to the batting side.

If saliva is applied to the ball, the umpires will be instructed to clean it before play recommences, although no details were provided as to how that would be done.

Other interim measures ratified by the ICC include replacing a player displaying Covid-19 symptoms during a test match. Any replacement must be like-for-like switch and approved by the match referee. Replacements will only be allowed in test matches and not be applicable to ODIs and T20Is.

With experienced overseas umpires unable to stand in the forthcoming series between England and West Indies, teams will be allowed one extra unsuccessful DRS review in each innings, up from the usual two to three.

Meanwhile Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar and former Australia speedster Brett Lee have backed the idea of using wax as an alternative to saliva to shine the ball.

While cricketers can still use sweat to shine the ball, Tendulkar said players hardly perspired in countries with cooler climates, such as England and New Zealand.

"If you're not going to allow saliva, and there are places where you don't sweat, why not use wax or some external substance?" Tendulkar said during his chat with Lee in the Indian's 100MB online app.

Teams could be given a "quota" of wax per innings, the former India captain recommended.

Australian cricket-ball manufacturer Kookaburra said last month it had developed a wax applicator to enhance shine and aid swing.

Lee said denying the bowlers an alternative would be "unfair".