Competition should be fair, not batsman dominated, says Ishant

With the International Cricket Council (ICC) banning the use of saliva to shine the ball once cricket resumes post COVID-19 hiatus, Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma believes players will have to take special precautions for this as they have been in a habit to do so for many years.

“I feel that the most important thing will be avoiding the use of saliva on the ball and refraining from shining the ball. We will have to take special precautions for this as we are used to shining the ball, especially the red ball,” Ishant said while speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.

“If we don’t shine the red ball, it doesn’t swing and if it doesn’t swing then it becomes really easy for the batsman. I think the competition should be fair and not a batsman dominated game.”

According to new ICC rules, players will not be permitted to use saliva to shine the ball and if a player does apply saliva to the ball, the umpires will manage the situation with some leniency during an initial period of adjustment for the players, but subsequent instances will result in the team receiving a warning.

A team can be issued up to two warnings per innings but repeated use of saliva on the ball will result in a 5-run penalty to the batting side. Whenever saliva is applied to the ball, the umpires will be instructed to clean the ball before play recommences.

International cricket, which has been on a halt since March following the outbreak of coronavirus, will resume with the three-Test series between England and West Indies, where all the matches will be played behind closed doors in “bio-secure environment”. The first Test is slated to be played at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton (July 8-12) with the second and third matches at Old Trafford in Manchester from July 16-20 and then July 24-28.