Shane Warne has joined the 'ball shining' bandwagon as the world starts to slowly recover from COVID-19 jolt and the former Australia ace leggie has chimed in the debate of the impact of not allowing bowlers to shine the ball by using saliva and sweat.
The Australian spin wizard recommends using weighted balls to help pacemen produce sideways movement without having to put their health in jeopardy.
Shining the cricket ball has been an integral part of the game and a long-held custom for pacers to generate swing but that won't be safe for an indefinite period of time amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Famous cricket-ball producer Kookaburra has offered a solution to the likely problem for quicks by developing a wax applicator to compensate for the shine factor and for the bowlers to generate lateral movement. A layer of wax could be applied to replicate the same effect of using saliva or sweat to shine the ball.
“Why can’t the ball be weighted on one side so it always swing? It would be like a taped tennis ball or like with the lawn bowls,” Shane Warne told Sky Sports Cricket Podcast.
“I’m not sure you’d want it to hoop around like corners like Wasim (Akram) and Waqar (Younis) but it could swing and give the seamer something on flat wickets when it’s hot and the pitch is at its flattest on day two, day three," Warne opined.
The two W’s are renowned for mastering the art of reverse swing and flummoxing the batsmen with their stupendous tricks.
And now MCC, custodian of cricket's laws, may well have to reassess the ball-tampering law and allow the polishing substance to be used which will require a new set of skills and a whole new set of ramifications are expected to be observed as cricket behind closed doors is being mulled by cricket organising bodies.
“A weighted ball would also pre-empt any ball-tampering,” Warne added.
Sandpapergate scandal in 2018 shocked the cricket world when Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were found embroiled in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa but now we might be moving towards an uncharted territory where bowlers could, within the rules of the game, rub a permissible substance to get the ball moving.
“You wouldn’t have to worry about anyone tampering with it with bottle tops, sandpaper, or whatever. It would be a good competition between bat and ball," Warne remarked.
Warne brought down the curtains on his international career in 2007 after snapping up 1,001 wickets and he says the ball hasn’t changed much but there have been a whole lot of modifications in bats.
“If you pick up one of the bats you started in the 80s, and then one you used at the end of your career, it’s like four of your old one stuck together – but the thing is lighter!
Warne pressed the case forward for bowlers and lamented the lack of efforts in experimenting with the ball. Furthermore, the legendary leg-spinner would prefer some manufacturing changes to tilt the balance of the game in favour of bowlers.
“So why has the ball not evolved? If anything, it has got worse.”