The ban recommended by the ICC on the usage of saliva on cricket balls during matches will be difficult to implement, former Australia fast bowler Brett Lee has said. In its guidelines issued on Friday, the ICC said saliva should not be applied to shine the ball.
“When you have done something your whole life from eight-nine-ten years of age where you lick your fingers and you put on the ball, it’s very hard to change that overnight, too,” Lee said on Cricket Connected, a show by Star Sports.
Lee expects some leniency from the ICC in this regard. “So, I think there’s going to be a couple of occasions, or there’s going to be some leniency I think from the ICC, where there may be warnings. It’s a great initiative, it’s going to be very hard to implement I think, because cricketers have done this for their whole life,” added Lee.
South African batsman Faf Du Plessis agreed with Lee, saying the same applied to fielders, too. Giving his own example, Du Plessis said he was used to the habit of taking a bit of his spit on his fingers before catching the ball in the slips.
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“For the fielders, it’s the same. As Brett [Lee] mentions, I’m used to taking a bit of spit on my fingers before I catch the ball at slip. If you look at someone like Ricky Ponting, he has a big spit on his hands every time he tried to catch a ball,” Du Plessis said.
Recently, India off-spinner R. Ashwin said applying saliva on the ball was a habit and it would take some practice to get rid of it.