One of the oldest traditions of Cricket- Shining the cricket ball with saliva- could be banned by ICC as a corollary to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Before the games were called off, during South Africa’s tour to India and the Chappell-Hadlee trophy, the players were asked by respective Cricket Boards to avoid shining the cricket ball with saliva as a precautionary measure.
Now according to a report in The Hindu, the ICC and various other cricket boards are strongly considering banning the practice of shining the cricket ball with saliva as hygiene takes precedence during the coronavirus pandemic.
Banning Use Of Saliva Need Of The Hour
Even as the cricket boards are the considering the idea, former bowlers like Venkatesh Prasad and Jason Gillespie feel that banning use of saliva on cricket ball will be appropriate in the short run “as safety of the players is paramount”.
Former pacer Prasad, who played 33 Tests and 161 ODIs for India, said, “When the action resumes, they should use only sweat for some time as safety of the players is paramount.”
Although he feels it will tough for the bowlers to cope up when the ban comes into effect, he thinks it is the need of the hour.
Use Of Saliva Pretty Gross
With people more conscious about germs than ever former Australia pacer Gillespie, who took 259 wickets in Test cricket, is of the opinion that time has come to reconsider the use of saliva in the game.
The Sussex head coach, in an interview on Sunday told ABC Grandstand that the the ritual of bowlers and fielders imparting saliva onto the ball was actually “pretty gross”, when given some thought.
“I don’t know. Is it just sweat? Can you only use sweat? I don’t have an answer to that but it certainly will be a conversation that will be had. If you think about it, it is pretty gross.” The pacer resonated the idea shared by many even before the coronavirus pandemic.
Skew The Game Towards Batsmen
As things stand, it appears that the common sight of bowlers and fielders using salvia on the cricket ball will be done away with, skewing the game, already in favour of batsmen, towards the batsmen.
All that the bowlers and fielders could be allowed is to do would be to shine the bowl on their trousers which they still do. Or as Gillespie puts it, “It could be a point where at the end of each over, the umpires allow the players to shine the ball in front of them but you can only do it then.”
Once cricket resumes, even the players would be apprehensive shinning and maintaining the ball as they normally do post the sensitivity towards hygiene in the fight against coronavirus.
As it may be, the banning of use of saliva on the cricket ball along with the apprehensions of the players will change the game of cricket. Without a shade of doubt, it would adversely affect the bowlers who have relied on saliva for quite some time to swing and reverse swing it, especially in the longer format of the game.
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