Left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz breached the COVID-19 regulations during the first T20I between Pakistan and Zimbabwe on Saturday, in Rawalpindi. The veteran speedster applied saliva on the cricket ball after which he received a warning from the on-field umpires.
The incident happened just before the commencement of the 11th over of the Zimbabwe innings. The visitors were playing at 77/3 when Riaz came into the attack and applied saliva on the ball accidently.
Umpires – Aleem Dar and Asia Yaqoob – spotted the indiscretion and asked the bowler to leave the ball on the ground. The play was resumed only after the reserve umpires brought sanitary wipes on the ground to clean the ball.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan captain and commentator, Ramiz Raja cheekily described the part where the umpires cleaned the ball as if they were touching a hand grenade.
“I think with the players and officials all in a secure bio-bubble during a series because of the Covid-19 situation. Authorities need to revisit the regulations governing the game nowadays due to the pandemic,” Ramiz said.
The International Cricket Council had banned the use of saliva to shine the ball due to the COVID-19 pandemic in June this year. According to the ICC regulations, three warnings for using saliva on the ball result in a five runs penalty for the fielding side.
However, this is not the first time that a cricketer has breached the newly introduced protocol accidently. In August, Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir was also warned for applying saliva on the ball during the first T20I against England at the Old Trafford.
In the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League, Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli and Rajasthan Royals batsman Robin Uthappa were also seen applying saliva on the ball while fielding against Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders respectively.
(With inputs from PTI)