FPJ Edit: Will using saliva to shine ball during cricket matches be a taboo?


The devastating coronavirus has played havoc with the world and has set it reeling under the weight of its murderous assault. While normal life has been severely hit in much of the world, the damage is not restricted to loss of lives and livelihood. Entertainment has also been hard hit and cricket which is an obsession with millions could not have remained unaffected. The Indian Premier League with its popular T-20 tournament has been abandoned this time around.

Inter-country cricket series which invariably drew great fan following stand paralysed. When cricketing activity resumes, there can be little doubt that the events of the past few weeks will leave a mark on cricket as it is played.

It was a typical sight for players at the international level to use saliva or sweat to shine the ball as they prepared to bowl to batsmen of the rival team. That could well become a thing of the past in post-COVID times, assuming that cricket administrators build upon the manner in which they are deliberating.

Australia has already indicated that it would not allow the use of saliva or sweat to shine the ball once cricket training resumes, says a framework released by the Australian government. Predictably, that new code would find acceptance in some form at the level of the International Cricket Council (ICC) too.

The ICC is considering the possibility of allowing the use of artificial substances to polish the red ball under the supervision of umpires. Unnecessary contact in change rooms, bathrooms and communal areas would also be curbed, going by present discussions. It would be interesting to see how cricket reforms itself to suit the times.

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