Head of the ICC’s Cricket Committee, Anil Kumble explained why the panel recommended the ban of saliva for shining cricket balls once the sport resumes amid the coronavirus crisis.
The Kumble-led committee suggested a number of changes for the time being which would reduce the risk of players contracting the deadly Covid-19. The key recommendation made by the panel is the ban on players from shining the ball with their saliva.
Justifying the suggestion, Kumble even cited to the 2018 Cape Town Test ball-tampering scandal as an example of how they even considered recommending the use of some external substance to shine the ball.
“We did discuss that but if you look back at the history of the game, I mean we have been very critical and we have been very focused on eliminating any external substances coming into the game whether you are literally legalising if you are looking to do that now which obviously has had a great impact over the last couple of years.
“ICC took a decision but then Cricket Australia took, even a more tougher stance on what happened during that series between South Africa and Australia, so we did consider that but then this is only an interim measure and as long as we have hopefully control over Covid-19 in a few months or a year’s time then I think things will go back to as normal as it can be,” Kumble told Star Sports show ‘Cricket Connected’.
The ban on saliva has elicited mixed response from the bowlers, who said it would definitely come in the way of generating swing. But most have also acknowledged the health risk that it might pose.There have also been discussions on whether the ICC would allow usage of external substances like wax to shine the ball. Kumble said there were discussions on usage of external substances.
ICC in its ‘Back to cricket guidelines’ has said that saliva should not be used on the ball to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and also added that “it is expected to ban the use of saliva on the ball in the very near future (on medical advice)”.
However, the cricketers will have to follow the guidelines once the sport resumes and it will be interesting to see how many of them do it out of habit.