Earlier today, the International Cricket Council (ICC) released a list of revised rules that will come into effect once the sport resumes internationally. The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has rendered immense changes to just about every important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. The game of cricket, too, has had to bear repercussions; cricketers and fans have all been out of action for the past three months due to the quarantine.
But as the world starts taking its baby steps towards a COVID-infested normalcy, cricket, too, must get back on track. For one thing, the ICC seems to have a roadmap planned for the sport’s resumption. On Wednesday morning, the world’s apex cricket control body submitted a five-point long list of new regulations that need to be integrated into the current game. Here’s a point-by-point breakdown of each of these new rules:
1) COVID-19 replacements
An extension on the existing concussion substitute rule. Under the new clause, teams can now replace players showing symptoms of the COVID-19 disease. Akin to concussion substitutes, the Match Referee will approve for like-for-like player replacements. Presently, this rule only applies to test-cricket, but it’d be interesting to see if (unlike the concussion subs) they extend it to the LoI formats too.
2) Ban on saliva-application to the ball
The ICC has finally settled the debate over the controversial saliva-on-ball rule. Prior to this change, a good-section of the cricket fanbase made arguments that fielders could utilize the ambiguity surrounding this particular law to conveniently tamper with the ball’s condition, gaining an unfair advantage in the process. Those arguments are now over- although the reason behind this particular rule-change has nothing to do with ball-tampering.
Regardless, under the new laws, the umpires will award 2-initial-warnings to a player found guilty of applying saliva on the ball. Subsequent breach of the rule will lead to 5-run penalties for the batting side. The umpires will be required to clean the ball anytime saliva is applied.
3) Non-neutral umpires
Owing to the logical difficulties currently associated with international travel; the ICC has temporarily removed the requirement of appointing neutral match officials. Under the new rules, the ICC can choose from both the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Officials and the Emirates ICC International Panel of Match Officials. As of now, this rule is applicable to all three international formats.
4) Additional DRS reviews
The ICC Chief Executives Committee (CEC) realizes that the non-neutral umpiring rules can lead to a compromise in the overall umpiring quality of a match. Hence, they have confirmed an additional unsuccessful DRS review for each team in each innings of a match. Under the new rules, each team will have up to 3 and 2 appeals per innings in the red-ball and white-ball formats respectively.
5) Additional Chest Logo
As an incentive for the organizations facing monetary losses under the current economic situation; the ICC has approved on a relaxation on apparel logos for the next 12 months. Under the new rules, teams can have a 32-inch chest-logo on their test-match shirts and sweaters- something previously allowed only for ODIs and T20Is. In addition to the chest-logos, each uniform can now feature up to 3-auxiliary logos.