As ICC approves Covid-changes, decision on T20 World Cup still hanging fire

June 10, 2020

CricketT20 World Cup


The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) meeting on Tuesday rubber-stamped the recommendations of the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee like Covid-19 replacements, saliva ban on the ball and non-neutral umpires. The focus now shifts to the Board meeting on Wednesday, with the global body yet to take a formal decision on the future of the T20 World Cup, scheduled in Australia in October-November.

The BCCI feels that any further delay is detrimental to its future planning. Some other cricket boards think likewise. Bilateral series are going to be the lifeline for all the cricket boards, in terms of revenue generation, in the post-Covid cricket world. For the Indian board, postponement of the T20 World Cup will give it a window to stage this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) in the autumn. The BCCI needs a window of at least 40 days to hold the tournament. It can’t plan for it until the ICC makes the T20 World Cup’s postponement official. Other boards, too, are waiting for the ICC to decide before planning their future bilateral series.

“An official decision will help everybody. The sooner the better,” said a BCCI official. At a time when Cricket Australia (CA), the T20 World Cup host, is showing reluctance to stage the tournament this year, the ICC’s apparent dilly-dallying hasn’t gone down well with several cricket boards. “We have been hopeful all along that it could be staged in October-November but you would have to say there’s a very high risk about the prospect of that happening,” CA chief executive Kevin Roberts had said last month.

Then again, grapevine has it that the ICC wants to take the matter to its Full Council in July before making a formal announcement. Asked about this, an ICC functionary told The Indian Express: “The (ICC) Board wants to fully explore all options and give itself as much time as possible to do so. There’s no rush for a decision yet. There’s no delay and it’s about doing things properly.”

Covid-19 replacements
Meanwhile, as interim changes have been approved, teams would be allowed to replace players displaying coronavirus symptoms in Test cricket, but not in ODIs and T20Is. “In line with concussion replacements, the Match Referee will approve the nearest like-for-like replacement,” the ICC release stated.

Saliva ban
The ICC has shown leniency with regards to saliva use on the ball. It has banned the use, but the process will have three layers; a talking-to by the umpires followed by two warnings and then a five-run penalty.

“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,” the ICC release said.

The CEC also approved non-neutral umpires, additional DRS reviews, and “a relaxation of rules on apparel logos for the next 12 months”.

The ICC is also expected to release election procedures and timeline.

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