England's Dom Sibley becomes first cricketer to violate ICC’s ‘saliva ban’ rule 

England’s Dom Sibley became the first cricketer to violate ICC’s ‘saliva ban’ rule on Day 4 of England’s second test against West Indies at OId Trafford in Manchester. 

Dom Sibley accidentally applied saliva on the ball during the match. However, he immediately informed the umpires about it and they used disinfectant to disinfect the ball. 

This was the first instance of a player applying saliva on the ball since the new ICC rules came in. The ICC had banned the practice as a part of its safety measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the sport. 

What is the penalty for violating the ICC's 'saliva ban' rule?

A team will be issued two warnings per innings for using saliva to shine the ban, as the ICC decided to let the umpires handle the situation with leniency initially to allow the players to adjust to the new regulations. However, after two warnings there will be a 5-run penalty.

Why do players apply saliva on the ball?

The players apply saliva on the ball to shine it and smoothen one side, enabling the ball to swing more to favour the bowling side. This is generally done in the middle overs when the ball gets old. 


The International Cricket Council (ICC) approved interim changes to its playing regulations in June 2020. The changes include a ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball. The decision was taken as the usage of saliva to shine the ball will elevate the risk of virus transmission. 

The changes were recommended by a cricket committee led by veteran cricketer Anil Kumble. All the changes were aimed at lessening the risk of spreading coronavirus and protecting the health of players and match officials when cricket resumes.

The committee instructed that in a situation when a bowler accidentally applies saliva to the ball, the umpires will be required to clean the ball before the play commences again. 

Also read: ICC approves interim regulation changes: Ban imposed on use of saliva to shine balls 

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