ICC Publishes Rule Changes In Light Of COVID-19

By Dhanu Delphi on June 10, 2020

The ICC has released a new set of guidelines recommended by their cricket committee; the committee was headed by ex-Indian captain Anil Kumble. The recommendations were later approved by the Chief Executive Committee; they will be applicable to all international teams and players as the ICC plans to resume cricket matches in a post COVID-19 world.

We take a look at some of the main recommendations that stakeholders will need to get used to. This will be for both test and ODI matches.

Bowlers Can Use Saliva To Shine The Ball

Fast bowlers for years have been taught how to shine the ball using their saliva. The ability to shine one side of the ball and get the other side rough is essential to reverse swing, which is critical to fast bowlers especially in the shorter formats of the game.

The ICC will no longer allow bowlers to shine the ball with their saliva due to COVID-19. They will be permitted to use their sweat to shine the ball. If any player is found to have used their saliva to shine the ball, the team will be hit with a 5 run penalty. Dr Peter Harcourt, who is the chief medical expert for the ICC was against using saliva since the coronavirus is contagious.

There will be a period of leniency initially for players to break out of the habit of using their saliva to shine the ball. The leniency period will give the team two warnings for using saliva per innings. If it happens on a third occasion, they will be docked 5 runs in that innings.

COVID-19 Substitutes Allowed For Test Matches

The ICC is willing to proceed with test match cricket knowing that there is a possibility that players might test positive for the virus during the game. This is why they have made provision in the new rules for a like-for-like substitute in case a player shows symptoms of the virus during the test match. This substitution will be similar to the concussion substitution rules.

Home Umpires Will Now Be Permitted

The ICC has only permitted neutral umpires to stand in test matches since 2002. This was done mainly to avoid any speculation over favouritism and having one sided umpires. This will now be scrapped in favour of home umpires who will be chosen from the ICC’s Elite Panel.

The reason for going with home umpires in upcoming test matches is because it removes the international logistics of travel. The same rule will be applied to the international panel of match officials.

Three Reviews Per Innings In Test Matches

In order to ensure that there is fair play with home umpires and match referees officiating, the ICC has decided to do away with two reviews per innings and now make it three reviews. The additional review is another opportunity for each side to question the decision of the umpires.

When it comes to ODI and T20 games a total of two reviews per innings will be granted.

Conduct Issues Will Be Reviewed By Neutral Umpire

Should there be any disciplinary incidents during the games, they will be captured by the ICC operations department. If there is to be a disciplinary hearing and a code of conduct review, then a neutral match referee will preside of the meeting via video conference.

These are some of the main changes that the ICC will roll out; we will have to wait and see how well they can be implemented. There is no indication as to when these new rules will be revoked.