The coronavirus pandemic has put global sport on hold and during this time, medical professionals have been working out the possibilities of a safe return for cricket. Multiple reports had emerged in the past that medical professionals were urging cricket boards to not allow bowlers to use saliva to shine the ball as it may spread the coronavirus. Now, there are significant new updates which may change the history of the sport.
Cricket bowlers, especially in Test cricket, depend heavily on using their saliva for shining the ball through its 80-over life span. This shine allows the bowlers to get lateral movement in the air and swing the ball. However, it was being reported that medical professionals were not too happy about these practices and have urged cricket boards to strictly stay away from them.
In a new report by ESPNcricinfo, it is being mentioned that the ICC is taking notice of the risks that come along with bowlers using saliva to shine the ball. According to the report, it looks like the apex body is now considering the allowing of a pre-decided external substance that can be used to shine the ball.
This practice will essentially be ball-tampering if looked at through the current rules, but the new rules will require the ball to be shined in supervision of the umpire. The ICC will also have to figure out a way to employ this rule throughout all forms of cricket so that the coronavirus risks get mitigated at all levels. It is being reported that the ICC and the MCC will meet up before any significant rule updates are made.
The Sandpapergate 2018 incident was the biggest incident of ball-tampering where Australian player Cameron Bancroft used sandpaper to smoothen the ball. Even if the reported rule change happens, it is very likely that hidden substances like sandpaper and more will not be allowed on the ball. And even if external substances are allowed, they will only be allowed under umpire supervision.
Cricket is currently on a hold with all major tournaments either postponed or cancelled. The IPL is currently suspended by the BCCI and so are most other competitions. The ICC has not given an update on the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to begin on October 18 in Australia. If the T20 World Cup gets cancelled, the BCCI may be able to host the IPL in that time.