Coronavirus: Cricketers could be banned from using saliva to shine ball

19 May 2020, 09:07 | Updated: 19 May 2020, 15:35

Cricketers could be banned from using saliva to shine a ball when play resumes over concerns it could spread coronavirus.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) heard medical advice via a conference call on the issue from Dr Peter Harcourt - chair of the governing body's medical advisory committee.

It was suggested the common technique of shining a ball to make it swing would mean an "elevated risk of transmission of COVID-19 through saliva", but it was highly unlikely to be transmitted through sweat.

The ICC recommended the traditional method must be shelved for now, though using sweat would still be permitted.

It abandoned the idea of using an artificial substance such as wax to induce swing instead.

Recommendations also included a vote on the use of home umpires in matches - minimising travel and quarantine considerations.

The committee also suggested one additional DRS review should be awarded to each team per innings.

Former India captain Anil Kumble, who chairs the cricket committee, said: "We are living through extraordinary times and the recommendations the committee have made today are interim measures to enable us to safely resume cricket in a way that preserves the essence of our game whilst protecting everyone involved."

The game is on hold worldwide due to the global coronavirus outbreak, but England's men's players are due to resume individual training this week.

Players will train one-on-one with a coach and a physio, observing social distancing at all times, the England Cricket Board (ECB) said.

There is currently no date set for when international cricket will return, but the ECB hopes to resume the men and women's games in England and Wales in July.

The ICC recommendations must now go forward for consideration by the chief executives' committee before being approved.

An ECB spokesman told Sky News it would be following ICC guidelines as soon as training resumes.