With an eye on the coronavirus pandemic, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee has recommended banning the use of saliva to polish the match ball. While all former and current players believe that it is important to ensure safety at this time, they also believe that it will be slightly difficult to keep off the natural habit of using spit to shine the ball.
Speaking on Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected, Brett Lee said: “When you have done something your whole life from 8,9, 10 years of age where you lick your fingers and you put on the ball, it’s very hard to change that overnight too. So, I think there’s going to be a couple of occasions, or there’s going to be some leniency I think from the ICC, where there may be warnings. It’s a great initiative, it’s going to be very hard to implement I think, because cricketers have done this for their whole life.”
The ICC in its statement said: “The ICC Cricket Committee heard from the Chair of the ICC Medical Advisory Committee Dr Peter Harcourt regarding the elevated risk of the transmission of the virus through saliva, and unanimously agreed to recommend that the use of saliva to polish the ball be prohibited.
“The committee also noted the medical advice that it is highly unlikely that the virus can be transmitted through sweat and saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the ball whilst recommending that enhanced hygiene measures are implemented on and around the playing field.”
Interestingly, Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood has also said that it is almost second nature to use saliva to keep shine on the ball to help it to swing. “I’d like saliva to be used obviously but if that’s what they’ve put forward, I guess everyone is playing the same game,” he told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
“Once it comes back to you as a bowler, it’s second nature to just give it a little touch up if you see something, and that’s going to be hard to stop to be honest. And it’s a tough thing to monitor for sure,” he added.