England all-rounder Ben Stokes was given a warning after he applied saliva on the ball during the 2nd ODI against India in Pune on Friday. Last year, the International Cricket Council had banned the use of saliva on the ball in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Players are warned first if they defy the saliva rules even inadvertently and then in the second instance, a 5-run penalty is imposed on the team which the erring player belongs to. Ben Stokes, perhaps, forgot the rules when he applied saliva on the ball after the 2nd delivery of the 4th over bowled by Reece Topley. The umpire immediately warned Stokes.

In the initial days when cricket resumed after lockdown restrictions were removed the world over in 2020, umpires were advised to be lenient to players who did apply saliva to the ball. The first international cricket game was played between England and West Indies on July 8 and it is ironical Ben Stokes, a seasoned England player, would still make that mistake.

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