Lee backs wax to shine ball, saliva banned

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Australia India Cricket

Cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Brett Lee would be happy for wax to be used to shine balls

Former Australia speedster Brett Lee has backed the idea of using wax to shine the cricket ball as players were banned from the age-old technique of using saliva.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced a temporary ban on applying saliva to the ball - a time-tested practice to generate swing - as the governing body seeks to safely restart the sport after the COVID-19 shutdown.

In an online chat with Indian great Sachin Tendulkar, Lee said an alternative to saliva was required to maintain a fair contest between bat and ball.

"Maybe try a new substance that they can potentially use that everyone agrees on, that the batsmen are happy with, that the bowlers are happy with," Lee, who retired from international cricket in 2012, said.

"I like the idea of having a tub of wax ... it's a very good idea."

Australian cricket-ball manufacturer Kookaburra said last month it had developed a wax applicator to enhance shine and aid swing.

The Australian felt a saliva ban would be tough to police and match officials should be lenient.

"There has to be a lot of leniency, maybe 2-3 warnings per player because I can guarantee you, if the players are told they can't do it, they won't do it on purpose but I think it will happen through natural instinct," he said.

Cricketers can still use sweat to shine the ball but Tendulkar said players hardly perspired in countries with cooler climates.

"If you're not going to allow saliva, and there are places where you don't sweat, why not use wax or some external substance?" Tendulkar said.

Teams could be given a "quota" of wax per innings, the former India captain recommended.

Several other interim measures designed to ensure the safety of players and match officials were ratified by the ICC Chief Executives Committee (CEC) - including allowing home umpires in international series and replacing a player displaying COVID-19 symptoms during a Test match.

International cricket will resume next month when West Indies face England in a three-match Test series.

The series will take place without fans and with strict health protocols, including the ban on wiping saliva onto the ball.