Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje believes the new proposal by the ICC cricket committee to ban the use of saliva in future will be good for the game of cricket, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The committee submitted a number of proposals to the ICC’s executive committee on Monday, where they deemed the use of saliva to shine cricket balls will carry great risks during the Covid-19 pandemic, suggesting sweat could be a suitable alternative.
Nortje, who has had a stellar season for the Proteas in all formats, believes it will be interesting to see what the ICC eventually decides on as a substitute option for saliva.
‘It is always a bit of struggle to get the ball in the perfect condition and given the illegal use of it in the past, hopefully it will now level the playing field somewhat for everyone,’ the 26-year-old Nortje told SA Cricket magazine on Wednesday.
‘Now you can actually work with something that will keep the swing in the ball or that can help with some reverse swing, so it will be interesting what will be allowed from now on and what effect it will have on the ball.
‘Hopefully it is something that in the future will be beneficial for the bowler and to help with the flat wickets that you plan on so there will be more movement. So, it’s definitely something that can help in the future, just depends what the effect of it will be on the ball.’
The committee based their proposal to the ICC on the recommendations from ICC medical advisory committee chair Dr Peter Harcourt, who rather advised the use of sweat as it carries no risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
In 2016 former Proteas batsman Faf du Plessis copped a one-match suspension for rubbing his fingers on a mint in his mouth to create more saliva to apply to the ball during a Test match against Australia in Hobart.
Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, on the other hand, told the Australian Daily Telegraph that he is against the banning of saliva, saying the use of sweat has a much-weaker effect on the ball.
‘Once it comes back to you as a bowler, it’s second nature to just give it a little touch-up if you see something, and that’s going to be hard to stop to be honest. And it’s a tough thing to monitor for sure. Sweat probably makes [the ball] a bit wetter if that makes sense. Makes it a bit heavier,’ Hazlewood said.