Nepal awarded five penalty runs after UAE’s Sharafu uses saliva to shine the ball

UAE were the first casualties of the ICC’s decision to impose a permanent ban on the use of saliva to polish the ball.

On Wednesday, when Alishan Sharafu applied saliva to shine the ball during the second ODI against Nepal in Kathmandu, on-field umpires Vinay Jha and Durga Subedi awarded Nepal five penalty runs in line with the ruling that came into effect this September.
In any case, the ban on saliva use had been in place for over two years as a Covid-related measure. At the time, the ICC Cricket Committee headed by Anil Kumble had recommended that sweat and not any artificial substance should be used to shine the ball.

That sweat was a safer option than saliva was approved by the ICC’s chief medical expert Dr Peter Harcourt, who had highlighted that Covid-19 was airborne respiratory infection and highly contagious.

In September this year, this temporary ruling was made permanent following a meeting of the ICC Cricket Committee. Given the ongoing three-match series between UAE and Nepal has ODI status, the rule was automatically applied.

“If the umpires spot someone applying saliva on the ball blatantly, there’s no option but to award five penalty runs to the oppositions straightaway,” a former ICC panel umpire confirmed to ESPNcricinfo.

“Earlier, when the rule was initially implemented after the pandemic, there was some leniency in the form of two warnings to the fielding team, since everyone was getting adjusted to the new ruling. We used to talk to the captain and give him a heads up simply because it was a new rule. Two years on, teams and players are used to it now.”

For the record, Nepal squeezed home by three wickets in a tight game to level the series at 1-1. Victory was orchestrated by Aarif Sheik and 16-year-old Gulshan Jha, who added 62 for the eighth wicket. While Jha made 37, Sheikh remained unbeaten on 33 to take Nepal home in their chase of 191.

The series decider will be played at the same venue – Tribhuvan University Grounds in Kathmandu – on Friday.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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