Kiwi All-Rounder Glenn Phillips Caught Applying Saliva On The Ball In 1st Test Against Bangladesh, On-Field Umpires Take No Action

In the midst of the gripping Test match between New Zealand and Bangladesh in Sylhet, allrounder Glenn Phillips found himself at the centre of a controversy when he was spotted applying saliva on the ball during the third day of the game. This incident has reignited discussions around the ICC’s ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball.

The ICC initially banned the use of saliva as a preventive measure against the spread of Covid-19 in 2020. Later, this temporary ban was made permanent. Law 41.3, which came into effect on October 1, 2022, explicitly states that players are not allowed to apply saliva to the ball. Instead, they are expected to use sweat for polishing, a practice found to be equally effective in maintaining the condition of the ball.

Law 41.3 of the game, updated and put into effect on October 1, 2022, says: “When cricket resumed following the onset of Covid-19, playing conditions were written in most forms of the game stating that applying saliva to the ball was no longer permitted. MCC’s research found that this had little or no impact on the amount of swing the bowlers were getting. Players were using sweat to polish the ball, and this was equally effective.”

“The new Laws will not permit the use of saliva on the ball, which also removes any grey areas of fielders eating sugary sweets to alter their saliva to apply to the ball. Using saliva will be treated the same way as any other unfair methods of changing the condition of the ball.”

The incident involving Glenn Phillips occurred during the 34th over of Bangladesh’s second innings. On television, he was seen applying saliva on the ball twice after delivering the first ball of the over while bowling to Najmul Hossain Shanto. Surprisingly, the on-field umpires Ahsan Raza and Paul Reiffel took no action against Phillips, raising questions about the consistency of enforcement.

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According to an ICC spokesperson quoted by ESPNcricinfo, the responsibility for dealing with on-field incidents lies with the match officials, and the ICC refrains from making statements on such matters. This leaves room for speculation and discussion on the role of match officials in upholding the rules consistently.

This incident isn’t the first of its kind. Last year, the UAE cricket team faced consequences for a similar act. A player, Alishan Sharafu, used saliva on the ball during an ODI against Nepal, leading to the award of five runs to the opposition.

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