Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Opinion: In the absence of saliva should fielding teams be given a ball maintenance kit

Opinion: In the absence of saliva should fielding teams be given a ball maintenance kit

In the absence of saliva should fielding teams be given a ball maintenance kit

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown one area of the game of cricket into the spotlight, that being the care of the ball and the use of saliva in shining it.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

The ICC has recommended that no saliva be used to shine and maintain the ball as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus.

The saliva issue could present cricket with the opportunity to address a longstanding issue.

Cricket can go two routes; one is to forbid players from using saliva on the ball strictly and to limit contact with the crucial piece of equipment, which might help reduce ball-tampering. The other option would be to allow certain things that might previously have been considered ball-tampering to give the fielding team some chance in a game already skewed in favour of batsmen.

One of the best ideas put forward is currently being developed by ball manufacturer Kookaburra, who have proposed allowing players to use a form of polishing wax on the ball to maintain the so-called shiny side of the ball enhancing movement through the air.

It seems unlikely that players would be allowed to legally degrade the condition of the ball in a bid to enhance reverse swing as that action could make it difficult for the batsmen to get the ball off the square.

Of all the options granting a small allotment of polishing wax to a fielding team and allowing them to polish the ball in the presence of the umpire could be something that placates bowlers who feel they toil hard and sacrifice their bodies in a sport that doesn't appreciate their efforts.

In the past players have used saliva and often saliva enhanced with sugary sweets to try to maintain the ball. It has yet to be established if this actually aids swing and should even be banned in the first place.

The COVID-19 crisis gives cricket a chance to mull all of their options on this contentious issue and come up with the best solution.

Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets 

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