Joe Root, the England cricket captain, believes not being able to apply saliva on the ball could end up improving skill levels of his bowlers. The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee has recommended banning the usage of saliva to polish the match ball in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
Root stated that bowlers will start adding different skills in their armoury to get the better of the batsmen. This will in turn help in improving the bowlers which will ultimately be good for the game.
“It could work in our favour and up skill levels. Not having the assistance that you might normally have means your accuracy has to improve,” Root told Sky Sports. “Guys will have to find another way to get something out of the surface, whether that’s a bit more effort, changing angles on the crease, using the wobble seam they might not have in their locker. It could develop our bowlers in a four or five-week period.”
The ICC committee had earlier also noted that the risk of spread of the virus through sweat is ‘highly unlikely’ and ‘saw no need to prohibit’ the practice.
“The ICC Cricket Committee heard from the Chair of the ICC Medical Advisory Committee Dr Peter Harcourt regarding the elevated risk of the transmission of the virus through saliva, and unanimously agreed to recommend that the use of saliva to polish the ball be prohibited,” said the ICC in its statement.
“The committee also noted the medical advice that it is highly unlikely that the virus can be transmitted through sweat and saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the ball whilst recommending that enhanced hygiene measures are implemented on and around the playing field.”
All cricket have been suspended since March due to COVID-19 pandemic and England are hoping to resume their season behind closed doors against West Indies at home in July.
The players have already returned to individual training, following all norms are put in place by the government, for the safety of players and officials alike.