Cricket greats Sachin Tendulkar and Brett Lee gave their suggestions on what should be done in post-COVID-19 cricket when the use of saliva is banned by the ICC. Fast bowlers often use saliva on the old ball in Test cricket to bring back the shine, which helped in reverse-swing.
Tendulkar and Lee suggested several measures, among those, is the use of artificial wax, allowing teams to have the second new ball in a Test inning after 50 overs or test each player before the match and go with the usual cricket rules which were in place prior to the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
"It's a tough call because it's something which we have done during our entire life. From the age of 8-9, we were told to use saliva to shine the ball. So, all of a sudden to be told something different like you cannot do that, I think it will be very hard to stop and would be very hard to police," Lee said while speaking to Tendulkar in a video posted by 100MB.
Both Tendulkar and Lee believe that in cold conditions when players don't sweat much, it will become more difficult to shine the ball and would be more disadvantageous for the bowlers.
"If you don't sweat, how do you shine the ball in absence of saliva. I don't think its fair for the bowlers and it's a disadvantage for them," said Lee.
"I think the ICC needs to look into that. They can assist the bowlers by giving them something they can apply to shine the ball, something which everyone agrees upon."
Lee further called for some sporting wickets on which fast bowlers get some help to swing the ball.
"I am not talking about a green track where a team gets bowled out for 130 odd runs, but you need something for the fast bowlers."
Both the former cricketers believe that cricket shouldn't be made complicated as policing over such aspects of the game would be almost impossible for the ICC.
Tendulkar also gave a suggestion to ICC to make change to their second new-ball rule. He said ICC should make the second new ball available after 50 overs in a Test inning, instead of the current existing rule of 80 overs.
Lee, on the hand, believes the other thing that the ICC could do is come up with a pre-made scuffed-up ball so as to allow reverse swing.
The Master Blaster further suggested to come up with the usage of wax to shine the ball in absence of saliva.
"Allocate a certain amount of wax per inning to be used by a team says X grams," suggested Tendulkar.
Lee, meanwhile, came out with another option of having players tested for COVID-19 just prior to the game and not implement saliva or sweat ban.
"Test the players say two hours prior to the game and then move with the usual things. If players are kept in a bubble, in a bio-secure environment where there are no chances of getting infected, why not go with the usual rules instead of coming with new rules?" he enquired.
The three-match Test series between England and West Indies, slated to begin from July 8, will mark the resumption of international cricket which has been halted since mid-March following the outbreak of coronavirus.
(With IANS inputs)