The usage of artificial substance is likely to be implemented to polish the cricket ball, which effectively means ball-tampering can be legalized by the ICC when the game resumes after COVID-19 de-escalates.
ESPNCricinfo reported that administrators are “open to the option of allowing for the use of an agreed artificial substance to polish the ball under the supervision of the umpires”, which amounts to ball-tampering as per the current rules governing the sport.
The matter of saliva being used on the ball was raised by the ICC’s medical committee and it would be addressed before cricket resumes. If the move goes ahead it would be ironic considering the 2018 sandpaper controversy which led to the ban of Steve Smith and David Warner.
Following the chief executives meeting of the ICC on Thursday, its medical committee, headed by Peter Harcourt, had issued an update.
“Our next step is to create a roadmap for the resumption of international cricket which will include criteria for decision making and a checklist for what needs to happen.
“This will consider everything from player preparation to government restrictions and advisories and bio-bubbles. The scale and complexity of getting cricket started again cannot be underestimated particularly with respect to a global event,” Harcourt said.
Shining the ball is an integral part of Test cricket as it helps the bowlers swing the ball, both conventional and reverse. Talking about the stoppage of using saliva to shine the ball Pat Cummins and Josh Hazelwood showed their concerns.
“I think the white ball would be fine, [but] Test cricket would be very hard,” Hazlewood said. “Bowlers rely on any sort of sideways movement in the air,” he said.
“If you didn’t maintain the ball at all for 80 overs it would be quite easy to bat after that initial shine has gone. Whether you use saliva or sweat, maybe one person can do it.”
“I’m not sure. It’s something that will have to be talked about when we get back out there and hopefully come up with a solution,” Hazelwood further said.