Using saliva to shine one side of a cricket ball to swing it in the air has been a regular practice among pacers. However, following the halt on cricket amidst the novel Coronavirus pandemic, the age-old method was proving to be a risky affair, as the virus can easily be transmitted through saliva, and ICC recently put up a ban on the practice. However, Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc feels that it may put the batsmen in an advantage, but not in India, because of the humid weather and sweat!
While using saliva to polish the balls have been banned in future cricket, ICC allowed the use of sweat instead, as it has almost no risk of carrying the COVID-19 virus. This can help bowlers in the Indian subcontinent, because of the hot weather causing players to sweat a lot more.
Even though he took ICC’s decision with a grain of salt, Mitchell Starc feels bowlers won’t be as much as in a disadvantage in India compared to other countries with a colder climate.
Speaking at an online press conference on Tuesday, Starc said: “In Indian conditions, the ban might not have so much of an affect. You sweat a lot in the hot and humid conditions and you can use it to polish the SG ball well.”
“Another aspect is the pitches and conditions don’t offer much in terms of swing movement unlike those in England and Australia,” the 30 year old added.
The seamer also said that he personally has always preferred using sweat instead of saliva.
“You use both saliva and sweat to shine the ball. I’ve probably been a bit more on the sweat side, and I try not to get my hands in my mouth too much but I agree that there needs to be something in place to keep that ball swinging,” he added.
Following the saliva ban, Australian manufacturers Kookaburra have recently started manufacturing a wax applicator as an alternative to using sweat or saliva. With the use of a pocket friendly sponge, the wax would be used to shine the ball for swinging.
Starc made his last appearance in the first match of the ODI series against New Zealand on 13th March. The series was subsequently cancelled on the onset of Coronavirus outbreak.