ICC Cricket Committee chief Anil Kumble insists game will return to normalcy within few months or a year once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control
India captain Virat Kohli (left) hands the ball to pacer Jasprit Bumrah on Day Two of the second Test against the West Indies at Sabina Park, Kingston in August last year. Pic/Getty Images. (Inset) Anil Kumble
ICC Cricket Committee chairman Anil Kumble says the recommendation to ban saliva for shining the ball is only an interim measure and “things will go back to normal” once the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control.
The Kumble-led panel recommended a ban on saliva to minimise the risk of infection. On Friday, the ICC, in its guidelines for cricket resumption, agreed with the recommendation. “This is only an interim measure and as long as we have hopefully control over COVID in a few months or a year’s time, I think things will go back to as normal as it can be,” Kumble said on the Star Sports show Cricket
“If things get back to normal within three-four months and we are able to stage matches like we used to do in February and March, then these rules won’t apply. As long as the medical advisory doesn’t change, the rule will stay,” he added. The legendary former spinner, however, acknowledged the bowlers’ dependence on saliva. “Of course we all know saliva has been a part and parcel of cricket for so many years. As bowlers, we used to apply saliva on the ball, sometimes for grip also, we applied saliva. But this disease can also be asymptomatic, so we decided to ban it.”
Kumble said that there were discussions on the usage of other external substances too. “Using wax is not allowed, we have never used external substances. We can use sweat. Everyone is talking about [how] it will affect the pacers, grass should be left. Why not leave it dry and play two spinners?” he quipped. “If you look back at history, we have been very critical and focused on eliminating any external substances,” Kumble added addressing speculation.
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