ICC Rules: How justified is the ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball, different opinions of bowlers, suggested alternative measures

New Delhi. In cricket, natural methods have been used for years by bowlers and fielders to maintain the shine of the ball, these methods included shining the ball with saliva and sweat. It is believed that the use of saliva-sweat helps in swinging the ball, especially the red ball. With the formation of the rules of cricket, the International Cricket Council (ICC) had given its permission. In the rules, natural methods like saliva or sweat were allowed to shine the ball, but it is prohibited to use things like jelly or cream for this purpose. You must have also seen bowlers rubbing the ball with the sleeve of their pants or shirt. This is also justified but spoiling the shape of the ball with cold drink bottle or any other sharp object is prohibited.

The ban imposed during the Corona period was made permanent
After the Corona epidemic in the year 2020, the ICC banned the use of saliva to shine the ball in May 2020. Although the ball was allowed to shine with sweat. The use of saliva on the ball can increase the risk of spreading the infection, so this decision was implemented. However, the use of saliva to shine the ball was permanently banned in September 2022. With the amendment in ICC Code of Conduct 41.3, the use of saliva to shine the ball is now completely banned. During an international match, the use of saliva to shine the ball on behalf of a player will now be counted in the category of Ball Tempering. This decision has been implemented from October 2022. It will be allowed to shine the ball through sweat.

Saliva is helpful in reverse swing
By the way, cricketers around the world have different opinions regarding the ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball. Fast bowler Shami said in a TV show, ‘We make the ball heavy and soft by using sweat, but saliva is needed to achieve reverse swing. Along with making the ball hard-shiny, it is also helpful in reverse swing. Now it will be a big challenge for us to do this without the use of saliva. Former left-arm fast bowler Irfan Pathan said that due to the ban on the use of saliva, now the ball will not be able to move in the air as well as it used to be before. He also said that as far as getting reverse swing is concerned, sweat is not as effective as saliva used to be. Australia’s Josh Hazlewood also took a similar view and said that playing Test cricket will become more challenging now due to the ban on the use of saliva.

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What can be the alternative solutions
Australia’s veteran fast bowler Shaun Tait said, ‘I have never been a big fan of using saliva on the ball, it is not very good.’ However, he insisted on bringing some changes in this regard. Lungi Angidi of South Africa suggested allowing other alternative measures such as the use of wet towels to overcome the ban on the use of saliva. India’s veteran spinner Anil Kumble said that with the help of the pitch, the game can be balanced between the ball and the bat. This can be done by making the wicket helpful for the bowlers.

Tags: Cricket, ICC

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