New Delhi: Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar and former Australia speedster Brett Lee have backed the idea of using wax as an alternative to saliva to shine the ball ahead of a crucial International Cricket Committee (ICC) meeting on Wednesday (June 9).
The ICC is expected to announce a temporary ban on applying saliva on the ball — a time-tested practice to generate swing — as the governing body seeks to restart the game after the COVID-19 shutdown. While cricketers can still use sweat to shine the ball, Tendulkar said players hardly perspired in countries with cooler climates, such as England and New Zealand.
“If you’re not going to allow saliva, and there are places where you don’t sweat, why not use wax or some external substance?” Tendulkar said during his chat with Lee. Teams could be given a ‘quota’ of wax per innings, the former India captain recommended.
Australian cricket-ball manufacturer Kookaburra said last month it had developed a wax applicator to enhance shine and aid swing. Lee said denying the bowlers an alternative would be ‘unfair’. “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,” said Lee, who retired from international cricket in 2012.
“I like the idea of having a tub of wax… it’s a very good idea.” The Australian felt a saliva ban would be tough to police and match officials should be lenient. “There has to be a lot of leniency, maybe 2-3 warnings per player 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 natural instinct,” he added.