Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood feels the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket Committee’s proposal of banning the usage of saliva in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will be difficult to maintain.
“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.
Earlier, India batsman Shreyas had told IANS that bowlers too need assistance to swing the ball.
“If we are starting, there shouldn’t be any restrictions. As a batsman, I look for the ball to be new and as a bowler you need the ball to swing, so it is kind of equally important for both. And it will be the law making body’s decision and we will have to abide by that,” he said.
Interestingly, Australia pacer Pat Cummins in a recent interview for Kolkata Knight Riders had said that if the situation is such that applying saliva or sweat to a ball can lead to spread of coronavirus, cricket wouldn’t be starting in the first place. And Shreyas echoed the sentiments.
“Definitely, he is talking as a bowler. From the bowler’s perspective it is really important to swing the ball as I said. It is important to maintain the ball and if that isn’t there, then there would be no point of playing,” he said.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir had also told IANS that he fears the recommended saliva ban could further take the game — which is already titled towards the batters — away from the bowlers.
“It will be the hardest thing for the bowlers. The ICC have to come out with an alternative. Without shining the ball, I don’t think it will be an even contest between bat and ball,” Gambhir said.
“If they don’t allow using saliva, they will have to come up with an alternative to help the bowlers to shine the ball. It’s going to be very important otherwise there would be no fun watching cricket,” he added.