The Anil Kumble-led ICC Cricket Committee on Monday recommended banning the use of saliva to shine the ball owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. During a meeting over a video conference, the committee also pushed for bringing back two non-neutral umpires for all international matches. Also Read - ICC's Guidelines 'Weird And Off-putting' But Health And Safety More Important: MCC Chief Kumar Sangakkara
The committee also saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the cricket ball whilst recommending that enhanced hygiene measures are implemented on and around the playing field. Also Read - Virat Kohli Recalls How He Earned MS Dhoni's Trust For India Captaincy, Says Becoming Skipper Not Even in my Wildest Dreams
“We are living through extraordinary times and the recommendations the committee made today are interim measures to enable us to safely resume cricket in a way that preserves the essence of our game,” Kumble said in an ICC release. Also Read - MCC Chief Kumar Sangakkara on Future of ICC T20 World Cup 2020, Says Too Early to Answer Any Questions
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.
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, it has thrown the floor open for fierce debate in the cricket community.
Only time will tell how much of an imbalance between the bat and ball will the whole thing cause but fast bowing greats such as Michael Holding and Waqar Younis have already expressed their aversion to the idea.
Another notable point discussed in the meeting was the re-introduction of two non-neutral umpires in bilateral series for the time being.
The recommendations will be put before the ICC Board for ratification.