ICC bans use of saliva to shine a Cricket Ball

On May 18, 2020, Anil Kumble led ICC (International Cricket Committee) banned the use of saliva to shine the ball. The practice meant for swing bowling is now primarily held as health risk due to the threats of COVID-19


The former Indian Cricket player Anil Kumble is the current chairman of ICC Cricket Committee. The Committee has banned use of saliva to shine a cricket ball. However, the ICC Cricket Committee saw no harm in use of sweat to shine the ball. Instead use of artificial substance to shine the ball is being considered.

Apart from this, the committee also recommended to increase use of DRS review per innings from two to three.

Why is saliva or sweat used?

The swing of the cricket ball is mainly governed by three factors namely shiny side, climatic conditions and behaviour of the pitch. The cricket ball creates turbulence as it swings. The player uses sweat or saliva to make one side look shinier. This helps to create challenging conditions to the batsman. It is legal and allowed in all matches conducted by ICC. It is called ball tampering.

Ball Tampering is usually done after the ball wears away in the second half of a match.

Types of swinging

There are two types of swinging namely conventional swinging and reverse swinging. During conventional swinging, the ball moves towards the side of greater turbulence. During reverse swinging, the ball swings the other side.

The swinging of the ball in opposite direction is mainly because, one side of the ball is shinier (or made shinier with saliva or sweat). This shinier side has reduced air friction that makes the ball swing in opposite direction creating challenging condition for the batman.


1 Comment

  1. Dr.Cajetan Coelho

    May 22, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Life is a precious gift. Health is wealth.Thoughtful and timely decision by ICC.
    Indeed, the use of saliva is a grave issue.

Leave a Reply