Legal ball-tampering a genuine option for cricket post coronavirus pandemic - Simon Doull

One of the biggest taboos in world cricket could soon become legal in the wake of COVID-19.

It's understood the ICC is considering a form of legalised ball-tampering to stop shining the ball the traditional way .... using saliva.

Instead, artificial substances could be used to help polish the ball, but under the strict supervision of the umpires.

Swing bowling was New Zealand international Simon Doull's greatest weapon, but the conventional way he used to look after the ball, might not be possible in a post coronavirus world. 

"If you take that away [the normal method of shining the ball], they need to be given something else," Doull told Newshub.

The ICC is understood to be considering just that, by allowing polish to be used on the ball instead of saliva.

How easy that is to police by the men in the middle is of primary importance.

Former New Zealand Cricket umpires manager Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri believes regulating what players can use to assist in ball maintenance, would be fairly easy to officiate.

"From a personal point of view, and knowing the umpires, I think an approved substance could be a potential way to go and that would be easy to apply," Eden-Whaitiri said.

The ICC medical committee wants clarity before cricket can resume, but using saliva to shine the ball isn't the only area of concern.

"Every ball Steve Smith from Australia spit in his hands, rubs them together and gets ready to catch the ball," said Doull of player tendencies that may be impossible to eliminate from the game. 

That's why the cricket commentator is suggesting a saliva free option. 

"For the time being, you're allowed to pick the ball, you're allowed to pick the seam, pick away at the ball and bring reverse swing into the game a lot quicker, as opposed to conventional swing.

"As long as nothing artificial is used, like dirt from your pocket or even sandpaper, then everything's fair game

"If you want to throw the ball in from the boundary and land it in the dirt first to scuff up one side of the ball go for it .... but the ball must be changed at 60 overs.

Whatever the outcome, it will give ICC officials plenty to pick at over the coming months.