Michael Holding: Ban on using sweat, saliva to be difficult for bowlers

A green light to the use of artificial substance would give rise to a logistical nightmare in trying to make it work, says Holding.

Michael Holding...“The natural inclination for any bowler, once he gets that ball in his hands is to apply saliva or apply sweat and then put it on the ball.”   -  Getty Images

West Indies fast-bowling great Michael Holding has expressed doubts about the proposed use of artificial substance to shine the ball in the post-COVID-19 world.

Holding said it was natural for bowlers to apply saliva or sweat to the ball to make it shine and thereby gain swing.

“It is going to be difficult [for bowlers]. The natural inclination for any bowler, once he gets that ball in his hands is to apply saliva or apply sweat and then put it on the ball, that’s natural,” the legendary pacer said on the Sony Ten Pit Stop show aired on the broadcaster’s Facebook page.

Australian ball-manufacturer Kookaburra recently started developing a wax applicator as an alternative to saliva or sweat to shine the ball, but Holding said it could be a logistical nightmare. “Obviously over a period of time, you will learn and you will adjust. I’m hearing talks about producing some sort of polish that the umpires will take, will keep and you shine the ball in front of the umpire. I am not too sure on how that’s going to work, to be honest,” he said.

'Logistical nightmare'

“What sort of polish is that going to be, will it be something that stick on your fingers, will it be slippery, because if that is something that is slippery, you don’t want to be having slippery fingers, to grip the ball it is going to be more difficult, I am waiting to hear all the details. It is going to be a different world and as far as I am concerned it will be a logical nightmare to keep all those things in place,” he said.

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Holding said he didn’t understand the fuss about using saliva when the idea was the resume cricket in a biosecure environment.

“At the moment when you are talking about playing in a biosecure environment ... no spectators, everyone has to be in two-week lockdown before they get into the venue. So that means everyone inside that venue should be free of COVID-19. Then I am not sure why you have to worry about saliva or perspiration ... if you are not confident about the two-week period proving enough that you are free of COVID-19, you should not be playing,” he said.

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