Indian speedster Ishant Sharma said that the competition between bat and ball “should be fair” after the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to ban the usage of saliva to shine the ball once cricket resumes post COVID-19 hiatus.
“I feel that the most important thing will be avoiding the use of saliva on the ball and refraining from shining the ball. We will have to take special precautions for this as we are used to shining the ball, especially the red ball,” Ishant said while speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
“If we don’t shine the red ball, it doesn’t swing and if it doesn’t swing then it becomes really easy for the batsman. I think the competition should be fair and not a batsman dominated game.”
The ICC Cricket Committee, led by former Indian captain Anil Kumble, had suggested the international governing body of cricket to temporarily ban the use of saliva on the ball to avoid the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. The interim change was approved earlier this week.
According to new ICC rules, players will not be permitted to use saliva to shine the ball and if a player does apply saliva to the ball, the umpires will manage the situation with some leniency during an initial period of adjustment for the players, but subsequent instances will result in the team receiving a warning.
The fielding team can be issued two warnings per innings and breaching them can award the batting team a penalty of 5 runs. For every time a bowler mistakenly applies saliva on the ball the umpires will be instructed to not continue the play without cleaning the ball.
International cricket, which has been on a halt since March following the outbreak of coronavirus, will resume with the three-Test series between England and West Indies, where all the matches will be played behind closed doors in “bio-secure environment”. The first Test is slated to be played at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton (July 8-12) with the second and third matches at Old Trafford in Manchester from July 16-20 and then July 24-28.
With IANS inputs