Starc warns saliva ban will hinder bowlers

Starc “loved” playing at Yorkshire and would return to county cricket in future

Last Updated: 26/05/20 6:49am

Mitchell Starc suggested there must be equal competition between bat and ball
Mitchell Starc suggested there must be equal competition between bat and ball

Mitchell Starc believes the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s recommendation of a temporary ban on using saliva to shine the ball could hand batsmen a significant advantage.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic means the traditional method of spit-polishing to produce movement through the air has been deemed too great a risk by the ICC, but the use of sweat will not be removed due to a lesser risk of passing on the virus.

Bowlers could require some assistance to get the ball swinging and ensure equal competition, Starc suggested.

The traditional method of spit-polishing has been deemed too great a risk
The traditional method of spit-polishing has been deemed too great a risk

He told reporters during a video interview: “That contest between bat and ball, we don’t want to lose that or get further away from that even contest. So there needs to be something in place to keep that ball swinging.

“They mentioned the other day that it’s only going to be there for a period of time and then once the world gets back to a relatively normal situation then saliva can come back into shining the ball.”

Nowhere in the world is more associated with the swinging ball than England and nobody in the history of the game has used it as effectively and prolifically as James Anderson.

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Nasser Hussain says ‘special talent’ James Anderson was the most naturally-gifted bowler he had seen as he reflects on the seamer’s early days for England
Nasser Hussain says ‘special talent’ James Anderson was the most naturally-gifted bowler he had seen as he reflects on the seamer’s early days for England

It could, therefore, be fascinating to see how the bowlers manage should Test series against the West Indies and Pakistan get the go-ahead later this summer.

Australian manufacturer Kookaburra has developed a wax applicator that would allow cricket balls to be shined without using sweat or saliva and believes it could be ready to use within a month.

The laws of cricket explicitly state that fielders must not use “artificial substances” to alter the condition of the ball but the idea that umpires would oversee the process, or even use the sponge applicator on behalf of the bowling team, provides a possible solution.

Starc suggested cricket authorities might also need to issue guidance on pitch maintenance to ensure bowlers had a fair chance of taking a wicket.

He said: “If there’s going to be a window of time, whether they instruct people to leave more grass on the wickets to have more contests…

“If they’re going to take away a portion of maintaining the ball, there needs to be that even contest between bat and ball, otherwise people are going to stop watching and kids aren’t going to want to be bowlers.”

Starc ‘loved’ Yorkshire and would return

Starc would 'certainly' welcome a return to county cricket if asked in future
Starc would ‘certainly’ welcome a return to county cricket if asked in future

Starc fondly recalled his time at Yorkshire and says he would “certainly” welcome a return to county cricket if he was asked in the future.

The 30-year-old told revealed “it was actually my first trip to the UK” during a season where he played alongside England internationals Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Gary Ballance under former Australia paceman Jason Gillespie.

“I loved my time there,” Starc added.

Starc 'would have loved to have played some more championship cricket'
Starc ‘would have loved to have played some more championship cricket’

“I would have loved to have played some more championship cricket – I played a lot of white ball initially – but I learnt a lot while I was there.”

Any return, as for all foreign players, would have to be considered in future seasons, with Yorkshire’s players and staff having taken wage cuts earlier this month to help the club manage the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The White Rose became the first county to furlough their players and cricket staff in April, while also cancelling the contracts of overseas stars Keshav Maharaj, Ravichandran Ashwin and Nicholas Pooran.

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Sky Sports News reporter James Cole explains the protocols England’s centrally-contracted bowlers will face upon resuming training on Monday
Sky Sports News reporter James Cole explains the protocols England’s centrally-contracted bowlers will face upon resuming training on Monday

And now, with cricket currently suspended until July 1 at the earliest, the club have taken further steps by implementing salary reductions of up to 20 per cent.

Starc had been looking forward to playing in Britain alongside Bairstow again as members of the Welsh Fire in the inaugural season of The Hundred, under the captaincy of Australia’s Steve Smith.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new city-based tournament has been postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic.

Still, Starc is adamant he will be back playing in the UK as soon as a chance presents itself.

“If a window arose and there was an opportunity, I’d certainly go,” he said.

Source : Sky Sports