Shane Warne has offered a unique solution to cricket’s ball-shining problem, with the application of saliva and sweat set to be outlawed due to coronavirus concerns.
Cricketers use the age-old method of shining one side of the cricket ball with a combination of saliva and sweat, ostensibly to help bowlers generate more swing in the air.
But with increased focus on social-distancing and personal hygiene to contain the spread of the virus, the sport is staring at a changing landscape.
Warne has now weighed in on the debate, suggesting manufacturers should put weights in the ball to make one side heavier than the other.
“Why can’t the ball be weighted on one side so it always swings? It would be like a taped tennis ball or like with the lawn bowls,” the Aussie legend said on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast.
“I’m not sure you’d want it to hoop around corners like Wasim [Akram] and Waqar [Younis] but it could swing and give the seamer something on flat wickets when it’s hot and the pitch is at its flattest on day two, day three.
“It would actually be a really good way to move forward, as you know no one needs to do anything to the ball. You wouldn’t have to worry about anyone tampering with it with bottle tops, sandpaper, or whatever. It would be a good competition between bat and ball.
“Have a look at how the bats have evolved. If you pick up one of the bats you started with in the 80s, and then one you used at the end of your career, it’s like four of your old ones stuck together - but the thing is lighter!
“So why has the ball not evolved? If anything, it has got worse.”
Not everyone was on board however, with a number of English fans slamming Warne’s ‘ridiculous’ idea, claiming the art of swing bowling would be lost if everyone was able to produce it easily.
Good way to render the skills a bowler has developed over many years completely and utterly pointless.— Matty Nunn (@MNunny91) May 4, 2020
Ridiculous, the game has been interfered with enough already in recent times.Just leave it alone now for Christ's sake!!!— Garfield Moreton (@GarfieldMoreton) May 5, 2020
Couldn't disagree more 😂 more bowling friendly wickets would be good though— Nathan pufc (@PufcNathan) May 4, 2020
What a stupid idea, so everyone can have the same skill set? Takes the surprise of every delivery away— Charles prosser (@CRAZYKYPROS) May 5, 2020
Good bowlers can swing the ball already. Don't need to undermine that skill by giving handouts to poorer bowlers.— Inside Edge Cricket (@InsideEdgeCrick) May 4, 2020
But then you’d have bowlers who don’t have the skill to do it able to swing the ball.— Anthammer (@AntWadebridge) May 4, 2020
Kookaburra’s new device for shining the ball
Kookaburra, the manufacturer of balls used in Australia, are reportedly developing a device that would allow players to apply a thin layer of wax onto the the ball - under the supervision from the umpire - that would act like saliva or sweat.
“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,” Kookaburra managing director Brett Elliott told the Press Association.
“It may not be something we need to make forever - it’s designed to get cricket back and give administrators time to make decisions.
“Nobody was calling out for this 12 months ago so maybe it is more of an interim measure.”
Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar recently said ball-shining would become a thing of the past.
“Shining the ball will change I think,” Tendulkar told Reuters.
“Everyone will be conscious of maintaining social-distancing, giving high-fives to each other and hugging after celebrating the fall of a wicket.
“I don't think those things are going to happen. It may happen instinctively but consciously players would want to make sure that they follow certain norms.
“During this period personal hygiene has been at the forefront.”