The International Cricket Council is said to be considering the idea of regulated ball tampering as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes after the ICC medical committee raised concerns of health and safety with regards to players making use of sweat and saliva to polish the ball during matches and particularly in the test match arena.
Ball polishing is essential to ensuring bowlers maintain the ability to generate sideways movement through the air which depends largely on the condition of the ball.
Should the players be banned from working on the ball using saliva or sweat, the ICC might allow for foreign objects to be used under strict observation of the on-field umpires.
This comes almost exactly two years after the infamous sandpaper gate scandal rocked the cricketing world which saw three Australian players receive hefty bans.
Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo on the potential problem with not being able to use saliva, Josh Hazlewood highlighted test cricket as the most affected.
“I think the white ball would be fine, [but] Test cricket would be very hard,” Hazlewood said. “Bowlers rely on any sort of sideways movement in the air,” he said. “If you didn’t maintain the ball at all for 80 overs it would be quite easy to bat after that initial shine has gone. Whether you use saliva or sweat, maybe one person can do it. I’m not sure. It’s something that will have to be talked about when we get back out there and hopefully come up with a solution.”
There are two groups, the ICC cricket committee the MCC’s world cricket committee, who would be given the mandate to make such a decision.
Early talks are that items such as shoe polish or wax could be used as alternatives to saliva and sweat.