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ICC to consider making ball-tampering legal to guard against Covid-19 – report

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic having put conventional methods of shining the ball in doubt for the near future, decision-makers at the ICC could consider the possibility of legalising ball-tampering when cricket resumes.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, discussions could focus on allowing the use of artificial substances to shine the ball. Using saliva on a ball shared between a whole team might pose a health hazard, with the issue likely to be one of the red flags raised by the ICC medical committee before cricket can resume.

Although there’s uncertainty over when cricket will resume, legalising ball-tampering, under the supervision of the on-field umpires, could be one of the points of discussion when the ICC cricket committee meets in May, as well as the subsequent meeting of MCC’s world cricket committee.

Recently, Australia quick Josh Hazlewood had expressed his apprehension over banning the use of saliva or sweat to shine a weary red ball. “I think the white ball would be fine, Test cricket would be very hard. Bowlers rely on any sort of sideways movement in the air. If you didn’t maintain the ball at all for 80 overs it would be quite easy to bat after that initial shine has gone.

“Whether you use saliva or sweat, maybe one person can do it. I’m not sure. It’s something that will have to be talked about when we get back out there and hopefully come up with a solution.”

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