ICC’s new protocols governing the non-usage of saliva on a Cricket ball were put to use early on in today’s play between England and the West Indies at Old Trafford, after an unintentional error committed by England opener Dominic Sibley. Sibley admitted to have used saliva to shine the Cricket ball by accident, after the umpires, Michael Gough and Richard Illingworth stopped play two balls before lunch to examine the Cricket ball. Umpire Gough then took out a disinfectant wipe from his pocket, and rubbed down the shiny side of the ball. He then handed it back to Dominic Bess, who closed out the morning session. West Indies went to lunch at 118/2, well and truly behind England by 351 runs.
According to the ICC’s revised playing conditions for this series, which is being played in a biosecure environment due to the Coronavirus pandemic, only sweat may be used to shine the Cricket ball. Saliva is considered a potential carrier of the virus, and so all players have been obliged to refrain from their ingrained instincts, honed over many years of fielding.
In acknowledgement of the unusual circumstances, the umpires have been encouraged to show initial leniency should they notice a team applying saliva on the ball, after which they will issue two official warnings before docking the offending team five runs.