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