COVID-19: Bowlers will no longer be able to use saliva to shine ball

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Shafaqna Pakistan:  The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday recommended prohibiting using saliva to shine ball in the wake of the novel coronavirus.

The ICC Cricket Committee, chaired by former Indian spinner Anil Kumble, unanimously agreed to recommend a ban on saliva although players will still be allowed to use their own sweat to try and achieve the fabled ‘reverse swing’.

Cricketers have long used saliva and sweat to shine one side of the ball while allowing the other to become increasingly scuffed over the course of an innings.

The technique alters the aerodynamics of the ball, allowing pace bowlers to generate movement in the air.

“We are living through extraordinary times and the recommendations the committee have made today are interim measures to enable us to safely resume cricket in a way that preserves the essence of our game,” Kumble said.

The 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 cricket experts saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat as it is unlikely the virus can be transmitted that way, the ICC said, adding that the recommendations would be presented to its Chief Executives’ Committee for approval in early June.

Shane Warne previously suggested using weighted balls to help pace bowlers generate swing without risking health, while Australian cricket-ball manufacturer Kookaburra says it is developing a wax applicator to enhance shine and aid swing.

Cricket has been suspended since March due to the pandemic which has killed over 318,000 people globally.

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