ICC confirm regulation changes due to coronavirus, including subs and saliva ban

The ICC has confirmed a number of interim changes to its playing regulations due to coronavirus, including the introduction of replacement players and a ban on using saliva to shine the ball.

The changes are aimed at mitigating the risks posed by the Covid-19 virus and protect the safety of players and match officials when cricket resumes.

Subject to government approval, England will kick-start their international summer against West Indies on July 8, with the three-match Test series taking place behind closed doors at bio-secure venues.

The new playing regulations mean that if a player shows Covid-19 symptoms during a Test match, they will be allowed to be replaced. However, this regulation is not in place for ODIs or T20Is.

The ICC also confirmed that players would temporarily be banned from using saliva to shine the ball – a tactic to get the ball to swing – with repeat offenders potentially handed run penalties.

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Other changes include additional DRS reviews and the allowance of non-neutral umpires.

ICC regulation changes

COVID-19 Replacements: Teams will be allowed to replace players displaying symptoms of COVID-19 during a Test match. In line with concussion replacements, the Match Referee will approve the nearest like-for-like replacement.

However, the regulation for COVID-19 replacements will not be applicable in ODIs and T20Is. 

Ban on applying saliva to the ball: Players will not be permitted to use saliva to shine the ball. 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. 

A team can be issued up to two warnings per innings but repeated use of saliva on the ball will result in a 5-run penalty to the batting side. Whenever saliva is applied to the ball, the umpires will be instructed to clean the ball before play recommences.

Non-neutral umpires: The requirement to appoint neutral match officials will be temporarily removed from the playing conditions for all international formats owing to the current logistical challenges with international travel. The ICC will be able to appoint locally based match officials from the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Officials and the Emirates ICC International Panel of Match Officials.

Additional DRS reviews: The CEC has also confirmed an additional unsuccessful DRS review for each team in each innings of a match, keeping in mind that there may be less experienced umpires on duty at times. This will increase the number of unsuccessful appeals per innings for each team to three for Tests and two for the white-ball formats. 

The ICC Cricket Operations team will support Match Referees when processing Code of Conduct breaches, and a neutral Elite Panel match referee will conduct any hearing remotely via video link.

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