Sweat, not saliva, will be permitted to shine the ball. Home umpires will replace neutral umpires. Every team will get an additional review per innings across formats. And there will be no Covid substitutes. These are the key recommendations finalised by the ICC cricket committee on Monday as cricket takes measures to return to the field in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.Anil Kumble, the head of the cricket committee, said the above recommendations were “interim measures” for cricket to resume safely. “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,” Kumble said in an ICC media release.These recommendations would now be sent to the ICC board, which is scheduled to meet on May 28 through a virtual conference, and are likely to be ratified.Monday’s meeting, also held through a virtual conference call, was also attended by former international players including Rahul Dravid, Mahela Jayawardene, Andrew Strauss, Belinda Clark along with Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur and current elite umpire Richard Illingworth, all of whom sit on the cricket committee. There was a presentation initially by Dr Peter Harcourt, the ICC’s chief medical advisor, on how cricket can safely resume and rules and changes to the playing conditions.Following are the key recommendations that the cricket committee discussed threadbare.Sweat over artificial substance to shine the ballNo artificial substance at all. Sweat will be sufficient. The committee discussed about the infection spreading much faster and more by saliva as compared to by sweat. It is not just cricket but even in other sport medical experts have barred athletes from spitting on the field because coronavirus can easily be carried by saliva. Hence, Harcourt is understood to have highlighted the point about no spit being used to shine the cricket ball.There was a long discussion between the committee members on the use of sweat to shine the ball. The committee, though, favoured the use of sweat to buff the ball and felt it was an equally effective alternative to saliva. The committee felt it was impossible to not sweat anywhere in the world, so they said the use of sweat on the ball was inevitable and acceptable.As far as the use of artificial substances went, the committee gave a thumbs down. Are you going to allow cloth with wax on it? Are you going to allow vaseline? Are you going to allow mints to be used? Those were among the questions the committee discussed on the use of an artificial substance to shine the ball. The committee felt that having barred the usage of any artificial substance to shine the ball which amounts to ball-tampering under the laws of cricket, it would be opening an unnecessary debate.The committee agreed, as a consequence, bat would dominate ball in the absence of saliva to some extent, but cricket could look at allowing pitches to become more bowler-friendly to balance the equation.In a media release, the ICC said the committee had “unanimously” recommended prohibiting the use of saliva on the ball. “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. “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.”No neutral umpires during pandemicThe committee agreed in the face of the travel bans across the world the ICC would need to relax the norms on neutral umpiring especially in Test cricket where both on-field umpires are from overseas, a norm established in 2002. In home ODIs, one umpire belongs to the host country while in a home T20I, both match officials are from the host board. The committee recommended in the “short term” home umpires would officiate.”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 ICC will finalise the best pair of umpires from the elite and international panel.The ICC also decided to increase one review per innings for both teams. “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 ICC said.No Covid substitutes allowedIn order to restart football quickly, FIFA had permitted clubs to utilise five substitutes instead of regular three for matches taking place this year. The ICC committee deliberated on whether cricket should follow a similar process and allow more substitutes over and above the concussion substitutes that came into being in the 2019 Ashes when Marnus Labuschagne replaced Steven Smith in the Lord’s Test.The idea for having more players in the dressing room is primarily to play cover to any team member getting infected during the course of the match. It is understood that Harcourt told the committee that potentially a test could be done in half an hour. Some of the committee members felt if testing could be done that quickly and a player was found infected that would mean both teams and coaching staff would need to go into isolation for two weeks as per the medical procedure. The committee felt in that case Covid substitutes were not needed.
Originaly Published on 2020-05-18 21:59:50 by