The Sri Lankan fast bowlers, after practicing for the first time after the lockdown in the country ended, told their coach Mickey Arthur that sweat is not as effective as saliva for use to shine the Cricket ball.
Arthur, who is part of the ICC cricket committee that made recommendations last week to use only sweat in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, said, “It was interesting chatting to the bowlers, who said sweat made the ball a little bit heavier than saliva did. Saliva was their preferred mechanism of shining the ball. But it is what it is now, you’ve just got to get on with it. Because I’m on the (ICC) Cricket committee, I do know the debates and the chats that went around the recommendation to avoid using saliva on the ball, though you can use sweat on the ball because it’s been proven that sweat is not a real threat. The consensus in that committee meeting was, ‘Oh, well, if you can put sweat on, then it’s ok. It’s almost the same’.”
Although most of the administrators and Cricket experts have called for the ban of using saliva to shine the Cricket ball, few of the current Cricketers have voiced for allowing an artificial substances, substituting saliva, for use of shining the Cricket ball, to give an even balance between the fast bowlers and the batsmen beyond the first few Overs.
The ICC cricket committee resisted calls to greenlight outside substances, however, not least because the committee had strengthened punishments for ball tampering, in the wake of 2018’s tampering sagas, particularly Australia’s use of sandpaper in Cape Town.
Arthur further said, “I will take this feedback back to the cricket committee, but I also know what the whole debate was around that issue. At the meeting last year, we actually recommended harsher penatlies for mints or any illegal substance on the ball, and it’s amazing that a year later we are discussing whether they can use artificial substances. It was almost a contradiction.”
“The theme of the meeting when that discussion came up was around the fact that even if it made it a batters’ game for a bit, we just had to get Cricket on. The focus was getting cricket on without making it too complex. If we allowed them to put an artificial substance on, for example, and COVID goes away in 18 months’ time or whenever, do we say, ‘you can’t use an artificial substance on the ball’ again? We would have just confused everything. There are other ways of evening up the contest for the bowlers as well, by leaving extra grass on the pitch, etc,” Arthur concluded about the subject.