Lee, Tendulkar seek alternative to saliva on cricket ball

The ICC is expected to order a temporary ban on using spit for shining as part of measures to get the sport restarted during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sachin Tendulkar in the process of shining the ball on his trousers during a Test match in 2006.   -  AFP

Brett Lee and Sachin Tendulkar have stepped up pressure ahead of a key world body meeting on Wednesday for an alternative to saliva to be allowed for shining the cricket ball.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is expected to order a temporary ban on using spit for shining as part of measures to get the sport restarted during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fast bowlers make the ball swing in the air by shining one side with saliva or sweat. Sweat would still be allowed, but is considered less effective.

READ | Iyer confident of having made the No. 4 spot his own

“Maybe there are other ways that ICC needs to look in, assisting the bowler maybe in giving them something,” former Australian pace bowler Lee said on Indian batting great Tendulkar's 100MB online app.

“Maybe try a new substance that they can potentially use that everyone agrees on, that the batsmen are happy with, that the bowlers are happy with.”

Tendulkar said playing in cold countries will diminish the option of using sweat. “You are not going to sweat,” he said naming New Zealand, Ireland and England.

“When I played for Yorkshire in 1992. I went there in the beginning of May and it was freezing. I can't forget the game I played in Hove, I had five layers on me.”

Australian ball manufacturer Kookaburra is developing a wax applicator to shine the ball, but the world body is reluctant to allow artificial aids.

Lee, a two-time World Cup winner, said bowlers should be given some leeway by umpires, including getting “two or three warnings” about using saliva before action is taken.

“Because I can guarantee you, if the players are told they can't do it, they won't do it on purpose but I think it will happen through that natural instinct.”

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos