The International Cricket Council (ICC) has recommended rules to ban the use of saliva to shine cricket balls in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement on the ICC’s website on Tuesday states that the age-old trick of using saliva to shine a cricket ball could be a thing of the past when the sport resumed due to the recommendation by ICC’s executive committee.
The committee, chaired by Anil Kumble, a former Indian spinner unanimously agreed to recommend a ban on saliva while, allowing players to use their own sweat to try and achieve the fabled ‘reverse swing’.
Cricketers have for long used saliva and sweat to shine one side of the ball while allowing the other to become increasingly scuffed over the course of an innings. The technique alters the aerodynamics of the ball, allowing pace bowlers to generate movement in the air.
“We are living through extraordinary times, recommendations made by the committee today are interim measures to enable us to safely resume cricket in a way that preserves the essence of our game,” Kumble said.
According to the website, the committee saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat as it was unlikely the virus could be transmitted that way. It added that the recommendations would be presented to its chief executives’ committee for approval in early June.
Australian leg-spinning great, Shane Warne, previously suggested using weighted balls to help pace bowlers generate swing without risking their health. Also, Australian cricket-ball manufacturer Kookaburra said it was developing a wax applicator to enhance shine and aid swing.
Cricket has been suspended since March due to the pandemic, which has killed no fewer than 318,000 people globally.
The ICC committee also recommended that local match officials should be appointed in the short term “given the challenges of international travel with borders being closed and mandatory quarantine periods”. (NAN)