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Shaun Pollock explains why shining the ball with saliva shouldn’t be banned

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Shaun Pollock, the former South Africa all-rounder, has weighed in on the debate surrounding shining the ball, saying he doesn’t think using saliva will be as big a problem as initially imagined.

In May, the ICC Cricket Committee panel, of which Pollock is a part, suggested banning the use of saliva to shine the ball once cricket resumes after the Covid-19-enforced lockdown, and recommended using sweat to shine the ball instead. It’s a suggestion that hasn’t been popular with a few bowlers, with sweat considered not as effective as saliva.

However, Pollock has now stated his belief that, if everyone involved in a match is quarantined and isolated anyway, there will not be a need to ban saliva. “I think the environment that’ll end up being created is almost going to be like a bubble,” he told the Following On Cricket Podcast.

“People will get tested, they’ll go into a two-week camp where they’re just going to sit and monitor how the conditions of their bodies change. And if there are no symptoms, it doesn’t really matter about shining the ball then, because you’re in the bubble and no one you come into contact with will have coronavirus.

“So you can just get on with normal proceedings. I’d presume that there’d be no crowds in place, every single environment they go into would be cleaned down and sprayed, and everything along those lines.”

That in mind, Pollock was even optimistic about the men’s T20 World Cup being staged later this year, given how Australia as a country has fared against the pandemic.

“Australia are down to 600 cases [463 active cases at the time of writing]. If they eliminate all their cases, and in two or three months if nothing that transpires, could teams be charted in there on planes?

“Go into a camp, like an isolation camp where they’ve got food and accommodation and some nets facilities – they practice for two weeks and once they’re given the all-clear, then maybe they can go into the Australian bubble that’s already formed.

“You’re sitting and thinking what could or can’t happen. The biggest challenge is international matches, where a team flies in – if one person has got the virus, then all of sudden, the whole tour comes to a grinding stop. I think Australia is probably in the best scenario to create a little bit of a vacuum or bubble where maybe things can happen.”

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