Black Caps star appears to break laws of the game

Publish Date
Friday, 1 December 2023, 9:37AM

Black Caps star Glenn Phillips has been shown on TV applying saliva to the ball during the third day of the test between Bangladesh and New Zealand in Sylhet.

After taking a slim first-innings lead on day three of the opening test, New Zealand spent a long afternoon in the field as the hosts unhurriedly built a 205-run advantage. Stand-in skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto (104no) led the steady charge and helped a side missing four key players head to stumps last night on 212-3.

The incident occurred after the first delivery of the 34th over when Phillips seemed to use saliva on the ball before delivering it. Despite the apparent breach, on-field umpires Ahsan Raza and Paul Reiffel did not intervene or take immediate action.

When ESPNcricinfo reached out to the International Cricket Council (ICC), a spokesperson stated that addressing on-field incidents was the responsibility of match officials, and the ICC refrained from providing statements on such matters.

In the post-match press conference, Bangladesh team manager Nafees Iqbal acknowledged having seen the footage and informed the fourth umpire about the incident.

Referring to Law 41.3, which was updated and implemented on October 1, 2022, the use of saliva on the ball was explicitly prohibited. The law recognised that following the resumption of cricket after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, playing conditions had been modified to disallow applying saliva to the ball. The MCC’s research indicated that this restriction had minimal impact on bowlers’ ability to generate swing, as players were effectively using sweat to polish the ball.

Under the new laws, the use of saliva on the ball is strictly prohibited, eliminating any ambiguity regarding fielders potentially altering their saliva with sugary sweets. The application of saliva will be treated similarly to any other unfair methods of changing the condition of the ball.

It is noteworthy that a previous instance of a player applying saliva to the ball occurred during a Nepal vs UAE ODI in November 2022, when Alishan Sharafu’s actions resulted in Nepal being penalized with five runs.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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