Former India pacer Chetan Sharma reckons that vastly tinkering traditional rules will only over-complicate matters as stakeholders ponder the use of saliva to shine cricket balls in post-coronavirus world.
Sharma’s observation is in response to Australia spin great Shane Warne‘s radical idea of introducing weighted cricket balls to help them swing and thus eliminate the application of saliva or any other external agent.
“I think we are over-complicating matters,” Sharma told The Times of India. “Let cricket be what it is. Let’s not make it a circus. According to me, cricket can resume once the pandemic subsides. If all the players playing a particular match test negative, what is the problem? That is the only way. Let’s not alter the game.”
During a Sky Sports podcast, Warne had said, “Why can’t the ball be weighted on one side so that it always swings? It would be like a taped tennis ball. You wouldn’t have to worry about anyone tampering the ball with bottle tops, sandpaper, or whatever. It would be a good competition between bat and ball.”
As per Sharma, who played 23 Tests and 65 ODIs, the practice of using saliva and sweat is unavoidable as players will touch the ball anyway with their hands. “These discussions about not putting saliva or sweat on the ball are impractical. It’s human nature for you to touch your lips and forehead. Naturally then, when you touch the ball, the ball will have your saliva or sweat. When your mouth becomes dry or when you drink water, don’t you wipe your mouth? It’s unavoidable,” he reasoned.
The debate over saliva has polarised cricket world especially in light of the reports that ICC is considering legalising ball-tampering should the traditional practice be banned.