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Starc warns saliva ban may lead to 'boring contests'
ICC Saliva Ban

Starc warns saliva ban may lead to 'boring contests'

Mitchell Starc has expressed his apprehensions over the proposed ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball, declaring that the absence of reverse swing will heavily favour batsmen and produce "boring contests".

The ICC is set to prohibit the application of saliva on the cricket ball after receiving advice from the medical committee that this action poses the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Starc, who is a core member of the Australian team across formats, said banning this method of polishing the ball would only allow batsmen to dominate the bowlers.

"We don't want to lose that or make it less even, so there needs to be something in place to keep that ball swinging," he told reporters via conference call.

"Otherwise people aren't going to be watching it and kids aren't going to want to be bowlers.

"In Australia, in the last couple of years we've had some pretty flat wickets, and if that ball's going straight it's a pretty boring contest."

ICC cricket committee chairman Anil Kumble addressed fears regarding this issue recently and claimed this arrangement was supposed to be an interim measure during the coronavirus crisis.

Kumble admitted a permanent ban on the use of saliva was likely to open the door to ball-tampering practices, which carry a strict punishment under the ICC regulations.

Starc felt there was room for innovation in the game in the event of no reverse swing by either permitting players to rub wax on the ball or force administrators to prepare more sporting pitches.

He complained about certain batsman-friendly flat wickets at home that had created one-sided affairs in favour of the batsmen.

"It's an unusual time for the world and if they're going to remove saliva shining for a portion of the time they need to think of something else for that portion of time as well," he said.

"[Either] with the wickets not being as flat or at least considering this shining wax."

A wax applicator that lets players shine the ball without using saliva could become a reality soon as the Australian cricket ball manufacturer Kookaburra is busy trying to produce one.