Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee stated that it is a great initiative from the International Cricket Council to ban the usage of saliva to shine the ball. However, Lee feels it is going to be hard to implement for the bowlers who have grown up doing the same, and thus it is going to take some time to get used to ‘not using saliva on the ball’.
Lee added that the bowlers have shined the ball with the help of saliva in their last eight to ten years of career and it is not going to be easy for them to make the adjustment. Recently, the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee recommended that no saliva will be used on the ball by the bowlers. However, the cricket committee has given a green signal to the use of sweat on the ball. The Committee has taken the decision to keep the Covid-19 risks at bay.
Brett Lee feels bowler’s habit to shine the ball with saliva will take some time to go
The ICC in its statement said: “The ICC Cricket 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”.
Subsequently, the bowlers will find it difficult to swing the ball, both conventional and reverse swing. The fast bowlers are generally known to keep one side of the ball shinier with their saliva, which helps them keep the reverse swing in play later in the innings.
It is not going to be easy – Brett Lee
Speaking on Star Sports” show Cricket Connected, Brett Lee said: “When you have done something your whole life from 8,9, 10 years of age where you lick your fingers and you put on the ball, it”s very hard to change that overnight too. So, I think there”s going to be a couple of occasions, or there”s going to be some leniency I think from the ICC, where there may be warnings. It”s a great initiative, it”s going to be very hard to implement I think because cricketers have done this for their whole life.”
In fact, many players have not welcomed the new recommendation of the cricket committee. Former South African captain Faf du Plessis said that he puts a bit on saliva on his hands before he catches the ball in the slips.
On the other hand, former Australian batsman Matthew Hayden said that the ICC should allow the usage of saliva if the players are virus-free. Michael Holding has suggested that it doesn’t make sense to ban saliva if the players are going to be tested and they will quarantine themselves in the hotels.