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Rules and Regulation changes in International Cricket following Covid-19 outbreak

England's Dom Sibley is bowled by West Indies' Shannon Gabriel

With the Test series between England and the West Indies underway we see what rule and regulation changes there are for the international cricketers following the Covid-19 outbreak and also what difference it might make to bowlers not applying saliva to the ball.

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: There will also be 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.

Charl Langeveldt reveals how much the difference the ICC's ban on saliva will make to swing bowling and what bowlers can do to make up for it in an interesting article for the betway blog

“The maintenance of the ball is key, particularly in England,” says Charl Langeveldt, the South Africa men’s bowling coach, who took 116 wickets in 72 ODIs and six Test matches for the Proteas.

“It’s a big plus for one of our bowlers if he can use saliva – it’s a skill looking after the ball. We really focus on polishing it. Somebody gets assigned to looking after the ball and making sure that one side is shiny.

“That is especially the case in England, because they use the Dukes ball. Once one side of a Dukes ball gets scuffed up and you polish the other side, it does swing a lot more and it swings for longer.

“I don’t know how they’re going to do it. I’m going to be interested to watch how swing bowlers like Jimmy Anderson manage.”

Langeveldt describes placing saliva on the ball as “second nature”, and England bowlers have been frantically retraining themselves not to instinctively do it in practice over the last few weeks.

©Cricket World 2020