Ban on Use of Saliva on Balls - Players Stand Divided

These are testing times for one and all due to the widespread of coronavirus, because of which cricket has come to a standstill. The ICC is weighing in options for quick resumption of the sport, and one of them is not allowing use of saliva on the ball, but use of sweat will be permitted.

While the cricketing fraternity is largely apprehensive about this move, there is hardly they can do anything about it.

Here are some of the responses from current and ex players:

Josh Hazlewood The Aussie fast bowler believes that it would be difficult to keep a check on this sort of a practice. “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.”

Pat Cummins Rising Australia star, Cummins feels that not applying saliva on the ball would lead to poorer quality of Test cricket, as that would certainly impact the swing a bowler generates. “As a fast bowler, I think you’ve got to be able to shine the ball,” he said in an interview on the website of the Kolkata Knight Riders (kkr.in).

“Why everyone loves Test cricket is because it has so much art to it. You have swing bowlers, spinners, you have all these different aspects that make Test cricket what it is.

“I think if you can’t shine the ball, that takes away swing bowling, that takes away reverse swing bowling and I just don’t want to give batsmen another reason to score runs.”

Matthew Hayden Hayden doesn't mince his words about his decision and says that it's strange to not let use saliva, and permit the use of sweat. "I find the ICC's 'no saliva-yes sweat' decision strange. These are things which are integral to cricket and I don't know how it's going to change. The more sensible option is to test the players properly and ensure that they are Covid negative. If the players in action are virus free, they should be allowed to use both," Hayden told Times Of India from Brisbane on Tuesday.

Ishant Sharma The India pacer is not really worried about 'no use' of saliva if ICC introduces the rule. According to him one of the changes will be that the ball would not shine as much, as it used to earlier. "The ball may not shine as per your liking if you are not allowed to use saliva, or you may have to go and fetch the ball yourself during nets - but there is no option but to get used to these things.

"But honestly I don't like to think about these things too much. I feel it is important to stay in the present and not look too far ahead," said the lanky pacer.

MSK Prasad Former chief India selector wants the ICC to come up with an alternative method to shine the ball. “The rules of the game state that external sources cannot be used to shine the ball as it will amount to ball tampering. So, players were used to using their own sweat, and in most cases, saliva to shine the ball to get it done," former chief selector MSK Prasad said.

"But in the current scenario, they should be banned from using this technique and ICC should come up with an alternative route.”

Michael Holding While on the other hand, former West Indies great Holding isn't too sure about the use of polish as an alternate to sweat and saliva to shine the ball."It is going to be difficult (for bowlers). The natural inclination for any bowler, once he gets that ball in his hands is to apply saliva or apply sweat and then put it on the ball, that's natural,"he said.

"Obviously over a period of time, you will learn and you will adjust. I'm hearing talks about producing some sort of polish that the umpires will take, will keep and you shine the ball in front of the umpire. I am not too sure on how that's going to work, to be honest," he said.

"What sort of polish is that going to be, will it be something that stick on your fingers, will it be slippery, because if that is something that is slippery, you don't want to be having slippery fingers, to grip the ball it is going to be more difficult, I am waiting to hear all the details."

Ian Chappell Australia legend Chappell takes a totally different route on this issue and feels that this might just be the right time to experiment with something like this.

"With ball-tampering always a hot topic, in the past I've suggested that administrators ask international captains to construct a list (i.e. the use of natural substances) detailing the things bowlers feel will help them to swing the ball. From this list, the administrators should deem one method to be legal with all others being punishable as illegal," he said.

"With cricket on hold, this is the ideal time to conduct the exercise. Using saliva and perspiration are now seen as a health hazard, so bowlers require something to replace the traditional methods of shining the ball," added Chappell.