Harbhajan Singh
AFP

The novel coronavirus pandemic could lead to a major change in the world of cricket after season resumes. The global governing council’s medical committee have raised its concern about using saliva to polish the ball to be addressed before the season resumes. The council is thus considering to allow the usage of artificial substances like vaseline to polish the red-ball under umpire’s supervision in the longest format, according to a report in espncricinfo.

It would mean that what is currently considered as ball-tampering, would be leaglised, keeping in mind the health and safety of players and all the support staffs. Considering the ball — Dukes, SG or Kookabura — the artificial substance would also vary. It is reported that the ICC and MCC committee will discuss and take a stand on the legalisation of ball-tampering over video-conference by May end or the beginning of June.

Ball Tampering

Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra lament the need of ‘saliva’ for swing

Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra have immense experience to explain how the saliva works on the ball. And they think saliva or sweat cannot be completely eradicated from the game otherwise the ball will not swing. Explaining his view, former India fast bowler Ashish Nehra told PTI, “Get one thing clear at the onset. The ball will not swing if you don’t apply sweat or saliva on the ball. That’s basic necessity of swing bowling. The moment ball gets scuffed up from one side, sweat and saliva must be applied on the other side

Ashish Nehra
Ashish Nehra (Credits: Twitter)

“Now let’s understand why do you need saliva? Sweat is heavier than saliva but both are heavy enough to make one side of the ball heavier for reverse swing. Vaseline comes into the picture only after sweat and saliva, not before that.

“It is lighter and doesn’t even ensure conventional swing. It can keep the shine but doesn’t make the ball heavy,” the World Cup-winning former pacer added.

Veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh also echoed Nehra, and said, “taking saliva out of the equation means taking swing out”, which he reckons would not be a good idea for any team.