The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricket Committee, led by veteran cricketer Anil Kumble, on Monday came up a number of preventive measures in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus when the sport resumes. And among them was the prohibition on the use of saliva to shine the ball. While veterans of the game along with present cricketers stood contrary to the decision, Faf du Plessis and Brett Lee had a different take on the subject.
Speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected, the former Australian cricketer hailed ICC's no saliva rule as a great initiative but reckoned that it would be hard to implement given that players have been habituated with shinning the ball with the saliva. Hence, he called for some leniency from ICC in the initial phase of the implementation.
“When you have done something your whole life from 8,9, 10 years of age where you lick your fingers and you put on the ball, it’s very hard to change that overnight too. So, I think there’s going to be a couple of occasions, or there’s going to be some leniency I think from the ICC, where there may be warnings. It’s a great initiative, it’s going to be very hard to implement I think, because cricketers have done this for their whole life,” said Lee.
Echoing his words, former South African cricketer Faf du Plessis reckoned that it will difficult even for fielders as he cited the example of former Australian captain Ricky Ponting.
“For the fielders, it’s the same. As Brett mentions, I’m used to taking a bit of spit on my fingers before I catch the ball at slip. If you look at someone like Ricky Ponting, he has a big spit on his hands every time he tried to catch a ball,” he said.
The members of ICC's Cricket Committee, however, saw no health hazard in using sweat to shine the ball.
“We are living through extraordinary times and the recommendations the Committee have made today are interim measures to enable us to safely resume cricket in a way that preserves the essence of our game whilst protecting everyone involved,” ICC Cricket Committee chairman Anil Kumble had said in the statement.