Saliva ban could change course in cricket | Taiwan News

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – A move to ban the use of saliva to shine a cricket ball due to the danger of COVID-19 transmission may force bowlers to relearn or reinvent any of the most prized but most troublesome skills in the sport.

The International Cricket Council cricket committee, made up of a roll call of former top players, has recommended, on medical advice, that sputum polishing of the ball be banned while the coronavirus outbreak persists . Unlike baseball, where spitball has long been illegal, certain methods of cricket are an integral part of the game.

The cricket decision was based on evidence from Dr Peter Harcourt, Chairman of the ICC Medical Advisory Committee, regarding “the high risk of transmission of the virus through saliva”.

At the same time, he found that it was “highly unlikely that the virus could be transmitted through sweat and saw no need to ban the use of sweat to polish the ball.”

The decision of the committee, chaired by former Indian captain Anil Kumble and comprising former high profile international stars such as England captain Andrew Strauss, Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka, Rahul Dravid of India and Shaun Pollock of the South Africa, seems a simple hygiene precaution. as cricket contemplates a path of recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic. But nothing to do with swinging a cricket ball is ever easy.

Even the science around swing, swing and reverse bowling is not generally accepted or understood, nor are the conditions that promote swing bowling or the means that allow a bowler to deflect the ball through the air when she moves to the drummers. Swing induction is one of the most sought-after skills in cricket, but also a minefield threaded by a narrow path that separates legality from illegality.

Pin polishing by the bowler or ground crew has been for decades the accepted method of shining one side of the ball to create aerodynamic asymmetry which in conjunction with the position and angle of the seam and the bowler’s catch and delivery action swings the ball.

Licking fingers, applying saliva to the ball, and rubbing it vigorously on the pants to enhance shine has become a ingrained, almost instinctive action of players between deliveries – an action that will be hard to resist or unlearn. It is not known for sure whether sweat can be used as effectively as saliva, but it is likely that every swing player around the world will try to find out when the ban on pin polishing goes through the machines. of the ICC.

The recommendation of the cricket committee is now forwarded to the board of general managers, where it will likely be quickly approved.

The use of saliva was always heavy because by chewing gum, sucking on boiled candy or other confectionery, it was possible to apply to the ball a combination of saliva and another agent that improved shine. Ball tampering – the use of illegal methods or substances to alter the condition of the ball – has been one of the most chronic or intractable problems in cricket.

Former South African captain Faf du Plessis has been penalized twice for tampering with a bullet: first for rubbing the bullet on the abrasive zip of his pants and later for applying saliva mixed with the bullet to the bullet. a mint or other candy.

Former Australian captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were banned for 12 months and batsman Cameron Bancroft for nine months by Cricket Australia for their involvement in an attempt to use sandpaper to change the condition of the ball during a test in South Africa in 2018.

For this reason, the cricket committee carefully considered whether, in the absence of saliva, the use of an artificial substance such as wax to make the ball shine should be temporarily approved. The committee found the question too onerous: at present, the use of any artificial substance constitutes ball tampering and members felt that any relaxation or modification of the rule could be problematic.

However, amid fears that an inability to swing the ball could tip the scales in cricket matches too far in favor of batsmen, various methods of reproducing the swing in the absence of saliva were encouraged.

Australian cricket ball maker Kookaburra last month suggested using a small sponge or applicator to wax the ball under the supervision of the referees. Great Australian tester Shane Warne suggested weighing the ball to create swing.

Movements are underway for cricket to resume in Darwin, northern Australia, as early as next month and local cricket chairman Lachlan Baird has said experimentation will be needed.

“The ICC is working closely with all cricket bodies around the world to find new ways,” Baird told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We now wonder if things like this wax applicator will be part of the new cricket. Ordinary.”


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