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Ban on use of saliva to shine ball temporary, says Anil Kumble
ICC Rules

Ban on use of saliva to shine ball temporary, says Anil Kumble

ICC cricket committee chairman Anil Kumble has assured that a recommended ban on using saliva to polish the ball will be an interim measure amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The ICC is set to decide in June whether to officially prohibit the use of saliva in the cricket field since it poses a risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Bowlers traditionally employ this method to get reverse swing on the ball by keeping one side shiny via sweat or saliva.

Kumble emphasised this temporary arrangement banning saliva would not be a permanent step, eradicating concerns over the prolonged absence of reverse swing.

"This is only an interim measure and as long as we have, hopefully, control over COVID in a few months or a year's time then I think things will go back to as normal as it can be," Kumble told Star Sports.

Kumble, 49, stated that saliva could not be ruled out altogether as such a scenario would pave the way for artificial substances leading to the possible normalisation of ball-tampering.

To combat the issue, Australian cricket ball manufacturer Kookaburra is trying to develop a wax applicator that allows players to shine the ball without using saliva or sweat.

"We have been very critical and we have been very focused on eliminating any external substances coming into the game," Kumble said.

Other recommendations regarding the imminent resumption of international cricket relate to minimising physical contact between players and match officials. Moreover, the ICC is looking to suspend a rule guaranteeing neutral Test umpires in order to meet the constraints due to restrictions on foreign travel.