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Pakistan v England 2022/23

Watch: ‘The greatest sport on earth’ – Joe Root shines ball on Jack Leach’s head

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Watch: England found a novel method to shine the ball during the first Test against Pakistan by rubbing the ball all over Jack Leach’s head.

The ICC permanently banned the use of saliva to polish the ball earlier this year to mitigate the risks posed by Covid-19. However, shining the ball with sweat is still allowed, and England found a hilarious way to maximise its effects at Rawalpindi.

On a pitch that is in danger of getting sanctioned after the visitors made 506-4 on day one, eventually ending with 657, Pakistan raced away to 249-2 after 72 overs, with little on offer for the bowlers. Desperate to get wickets, England tried to get the reverse swing going by polishing the ball on bald Jack Leach’s head, leading to amusement in the commentary box.


Joe Root was seen rolling the red cherry all over Leach’s scalp before putting the cap back on for the spinner nonchalantly. “It’s ingenious, it’s absolutely ingenious because you are no longer allowed to use saliva. Tests have apparently proven that sweat is much more effective in shining the ball than saliva – a relic of the Covid days. But I never thought of using that particular scalp as a way of sourcing the shine,” said David Gower in between laughs.

Leach was seen walking back to the pavilion immediately after having offered his scalp for the benefit of the team.

The moment was the source of much mirth off the field among those watching.

Watch Root shining the ball on Leach’s head here:


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