The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to ban the usage of saliva to shine the ball amidst the Coronavirus outbreak. It has been done to keep the players away from contracting the virus and the move has received mixed reactions as it takes an advantage away from the bowlers especially in Tests. Former India Ajit Agarkar, meanwhile, feels that the ICC should think of allow saliva usage if players are tested negative before the match.
ICC’s new playing conditions will be effective from July 8 when the three-match Test series between England and West Indies is set to commence. It also marks the resumption of international cricket which came to a screeching half in March as the virus was spreading fast. Not that the virus has completely subsided but the ECB has taken care of all the guidelines and the matches will be played at bio-secure venues.
Coming back to Ajit Agarkar statement, he understands the importance of saliva on ball for the bowlers. He reckons if all the players are tested negative, then there shouldn’t be any issue to use saliva. “My only contention is that players who will play, will eventually be tested before the game starts. If they are found to be COVID-19 negative then I can at least consider that it will be safe to put saliva on the ball.
“This is my opinion and probably someone from the medical field can give us a broader view on the subject,” he was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Ajit Agarkar understands ICC’s position at this stage
However, Ajit Agarkar completely understands the ICC and its Medical Committee’s position in this regard. He feels though that it will be definitely tough for the bowlers to shine one side of the ball to generate swing for more overs. “It is very important to shine the ball and there are no two ways about it but its a difficult one for the committees (referring to ICC Cricket and Medical Committee) as well to straightway after resumption say, ok you can use (saliva) it.
“Obviously, they have taken a safe approach and in current situation it is understandable. But we will have to wait and see once England series is underway. Its not going to be easy for the bowlers,” the 42-year-old added.
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