Cricket: Jason Gillespie believes saliva shining should be looked at post COVID-19 pandemic

A cricket player shines the ball during an English county match.
A cricket player shines the ball during an English county match. Photo credit: Getty

Former Australian pace bowler Jason Gillespie believes the use of saliva to shine a cricket ball will have to be examined amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The technique usually involves applying 'saliva' on the ball to assist the bowlers to get the swing. As the game starts swaying in favour of batsmen, bowlers have to try everything they can to keep the balance.

The coronavirus, spread via respiratory droplets and saliva, could complicate matters in the future. 

The International Cricket Council has cracked down on ball-tampering following the 'sandpaper-gate' scandal where member of the Aussie cricket team attempted to scuff the ball with sandpaper to gain an advantage. 

Gillespie, who snared 259 test wickets during his career, feels hygiene in the future could prevent the practice of shining the ball with saliva.

"I don't think it's a quirky question. It's an actual genuine thing to be considered," Gillespie, told ABC Grandstand.

Jason Gillespie.
Jason Gillespie. Photo credit: Photosport

"I don't think anything is off the table. It could be a point where at the end of each over, the umpires allow the players to shine the ball in front of them but you can only do it then.

"I don't know. Is it just sweat? Can you only use sweat?

"I don't have an answer to that but it certainly will be a conversation that will be had. If you think about it, it is pretty gross."

Earlier this week, the England and Wales Cricket Board said their "medical teams will support and guide during and beyond this crisis to protect the health and wellbeing of all players and club staff" when asked about the topic. 

India's seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said his side had similar thoughts.

"We are taking every precaution we can. We have a team of doctors with us, who are advising us on dos and don'ts. We have a meeting with our doctors. If they advise us to not use saliva on the ball, then we will follow it. So, it all depends upon the instructions given by the doctor."

Meanwhile, current Aussie bowler Pat Cummins said the topic was discussed prior to last month's one-dayer against the Blackcaps in Sydney. 

"If it's at that stage where we're that worried about spread... I'm not sure we'd be playing sport and bringing ourselves out of isolation," Cummins said earlier this month.

"The one-dayer, we made it clear we're obviously really keen to play, but... the way we shined the ball didn't change.

"Obviously different with red ball. As a bowler I think it would be pretty tough going if we couldn't shine the ball in a test."