Umpiring in cricket has always been a talking point but that has not stopped the ICC from planning to use non-nuetral in bilateral games as they look to resume cricket after a forced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief of the ICC Cricket Committee Anil Kumble said that this move was to bypass the quarantine measures in various parts of the world as that would be one less restriction to worry about temporarily, especially given the lack of numbers.
Kumble, speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected, said, “I think the need of the hour was to start cricket. We also felt that because of travel restrictions, there could be quarantine measures. You don’t have too many elite umpires in the panel. So, we felt that for cricket to kickstart, its best to use local umpires.”
“Most countries don’t have the experience; the local umpires don’t have the experience of a Test Match or being part of a Test match.”
The former India coach and captain also touched upon the additional DRS review afforded to teams, saying that it was more to counter a lack of experience for the umpire.
“The reason that we started neutral umpiring 20 years ago was because there was the perception of a bias. The recommendation for an extra review for both teams is not to root that out but we felt that there could be potential inexperience being in a Test match situation, which is why the advantage of the additional review would probably benefit both the teams. That’s one of the reasons why we recommended that we should give the additional review to both the teams in these scenarios.”
Apart from this one of the other major talking points in the latest guidelines has been the saliva ban and Kumble, a legendary spinner himself, said this was a temporary safety measure in such trying times.
“…this is only an interim measure and as long as we have hopefully control over COVID in a few months or a year’s time then I think things will go back to as normal as it can be," Kumble said.
“If things get back to normal within three-four months and we are able to stage matches like we used to do in February and March, then these rules won’t apply.
“As long as the medical advisory doesn’t change, the rule will stay," he added.
The legendary former spinner, however, acknowledged the bowler’s dependence on saliva.
“Of course we all know saliva has been a part and parcel of cricket for so many years. As bowlers, we used to apply saliva on ball, sometimes for grip also, we applied saliva. But with this disease, it can also be asymptomatic, that is why we deiced to ban it," he explained.