ICC announces new changes in playing rules: make ‘saliva ban’ to polish ball The International Cricket Council has announced modifications to its playing rules ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, the most significant of which is a permanent prohibition on the use of saliva to polish the ball. The ICC had imposed the restriction earlier temporarily under COVID-related protocols. However, it has now been permanently banned. “The Men’s Cricket Committee led by former India captain Sourav Ganguly recommended changes to the playing conditions in MCC’s updated third edition of the 2017 Code of the Laws of Cricket,” read a statement issued by the ICC on Tuesday. The statement said that the conclusions were also shared with the Women’s Cricket Committee, who endorsed the recommendations. The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia next month will put the new playing conditions into practice because conditions will go into effect on October 1, 2022. The main changes are as follows: Use of saliva to polish the ball This prohibition has been in place for over two years in international cricket as a COVID-related temporary measure and it is considered appropriate for the ban to be made permanent. The outbreak of COVID-19 enforced the rule to avoid virus transmission on the field. The rule came into play when cricket resumed after a break in July 2020 and will now be made permanent. During the saliva ban, the players resorted to the use of sweat to shine the ball, which has proven to be effective. Incoming batter ready to face the ball An incoming batter will now be required to be ready to take strike within two minutes in Tests and ODIs, while the current threshold of 90 seconds in T20Is remains unchanged. Previously, the incoming batter had three minutes to take strike in ODIs and Tests but it has now been reduced. Failing to do so, the fielding captain can appeal for a timed out. Batters returning when caught When a batter is out caught, the new batter will come in at the end the striker was, regardless of whether the batters crossed prior to the catch being taken. Previously, in case the batters crossed before a catch was taken, the non-striker would take strike the next ball while the new batter would be at the non-striker’s end. Unfair movement by the fielding side Any unfair and deliberate movement while the bowler is running into the bowl could now result in the umpire awarding five penalty runs to the batting side, in addition to a call of the dead ball. Striker’s right to play the ball This is restricted so as to require some part of their bat or person to remain within the pitch. Should they venture beyond that, the umpire will call and signal dead ball. Any ball which would force the batter to leave the pitch will also be called no ball. Running out of the non-striker The playing conditions follow the laws in moving this method of effecting a run out from the ‘unfair play’ section to the ‘run out’ section. Previously looked down as unfair play, running out a non-striker for backing up too much will now be considered a regular run-out. Bowler throwing towards striker’s end before delivery Previously, a bowler who saw the batter advancing down the wicket before entering their delivery stride could throw the ball to attempt to Run out the striker. This practice will now be called a dead ball. Other major decisions After the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League concludes in 2023, the in-game penalty that was first implemented in T20Is in January 2022 (wherein the failure of a fielding team to bowl their overs by the scheduled cessation time results in an additional fielder having to be brought inside the fielding circle for the remaining overs of the innings) will also be used in ODI matches. As a result of teams continuing to maintain a sluggish over rate, the regulation has already been put into place and has lost teams’ games. An example of this was the second match of the 2022 Asia Cup between India and Pakistan.