Saliva ban could lead to ball-tampering being given green light

Ban on using saliva to shine ball could lead to ball-tampering being given the green light when cricket emerges from the coronavirus crisis

  • Wax, shoe polish and leather moisturiser are all possible agents for ball shining 
  • It is being considered in the spirit of keeping a fair contest between bat and ball 
  • But the line will be drawn at sandpaper, as used by Australia’s Cameron Bancroft 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Ball-tampering could become legal so bowlers are not tempted to use saliva to shine the ball when cricket emerges from the coronavirus crisis.

The prospect of the sanctioned use of artificial substances to alter the condition of the red ball, under the supervision of umpires, has been debated this week by the ICC’s medical committee, while considering how the game could go ahead in a bio-secure environment.

Wax, shoe polish and leather moisturiser are all possible agents for shining the ball — if saliva is deemed an unnecessary risk — in the spirit of maintaining an equal contest between bat and ball.

Ball-tampering could become legal so bowlers are not tempted to use saliva to shine the ball

But the line will be drawn at sandpaper, as infamously used by Australia’s Cameron Bancroft 

But cricket is expected to draw the line at sandpaper, as used by Australia’s Cameron Bancroft against South Africa in the Cape Town Test two years ago.

Ball-tampering is one of cricket’s great taboos, but even though the move would need the approval of MCC in the form of a law change, it is believed to have support within a sport that will need to adapt to a very different world when play is allowed to begin again.

 

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