The spread of COVID-19 has largely impacted many sports, including cricket. But whenever healthy life resumes the future of shining a ball, especially in Test cricket would be the biggest question.
Cricketers often use their sweat and saliva to keep one side of the ball shiny so that the bowlers can generate swing. But due to the deadly virus, the whole process could change.
In cricket, shining a ball with sweat and saliva is a traditional practice, which is entirely legal as well, as long as mints aren’t used to gain an illegitimate benefit. Since the Coronavirus is reported to be spread via respiratory droplets, it’s expected that the customary fashion of shining the ball could witness a modification.
Meanwhile, the Australian cricket ball manufacturer Kookaburra has come up with an alternative to saliva and sweat by developing a wax applicator which will act as a substitute to shine the ball. It will also minimise the risk of Coronavirus transmission.
“At Kookaburra we are committed to continuous improvement and innovation in the game we love,” Kookaburra’s general manager David Orchard was quoted as saying to AFP.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic we are always looking for solutions to allow our game to be played safely by all cricketing communities around the world,” he added.
Some media reports have suggested that the ICC is considering the possibility of allowing the use of artificial substances to polish the ball; however, it will be entirely under the supervision of umpires.
Kookaburra has revealed that they have started developing a wax applicator, which could be ready in a month’s time.
“Kookaburra’s research and development centre in Australia has been working on a product to replace the traditional methods of polishing a ball that could be controlled and managed by the match umpire. We have developed a unique wax formula for polishing a cricket ball,” Brett Elliott, group managing director of the brand, told the PA news agency.
Kookaburra said that the wax applicator would be of a pocket-size which will apply a layer on the cricket ball in order to polish its surface which the players would want to shine.
“The pocket-size sponge applicator would enable umpires or players to apply a thin layer of wax which could then be rubbed and polished in a traditional manner to enhance the shine on the ball,” added Brett.
Brett also stated that the product would be available within a month; however, it might take a little more time to test the ball in real conditions as no event is going on at present.
“This could be available within a month; however, it has to be tested in match conditions as the ability to complete real trial matches at the moment is inhibited,” Brett added further.
Speaking about cricket ball, then Kookaburra balls are used in all limited-overs cricket. When it comes to Test cricket, countries like England, Ireland and West Indies use Dukes balls, while India uses SG.