'Not allowed': ICC rejects Aussie plan to legalise 'ball-tampering'

The ICC have brushed off ideas about legalising ball-tampering in response to the virus crisis. Pic: Getty

International Cricket Council power broker Anil Kumble has urged teams to adjust to an interim ban on using saliva to shine the ball, suggesting that legalising an artificial wax would fly in the face of a recent ball-tampering crackdown.

The ICC's cricket committee, chaired by Kumble and featuring Cricket Australia executive Belinda Clark, recommended last week that it should be illegal to use spit to work on the ball because of the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

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Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are among those to have since expressed concern the change could mean Test cricket becomes even more of a batsman's game whenever it returns.

Kookaburra has developed an artificial wax, allowing balls to be shined without using sweat or saliva.

Kumble admitted the cricket committee discussed the innovation, but ultimately didn't want to proceed with something which could be viewed as tantamount to ball-tampering.

The ICC sought to stamp out tampering after the Cape Town sandpaper saga in 2018, having been deeply concerned when an arms race between teams wanting to generate reverse swing erupted in unedifying fashion.

"We have been very critical and we have been very focused on eliminating any external substances coming into the game," Kumble told Indian broadcaster Star Sports.

"Obviously, (tampering) has had a great impact over the last couple of years.

"ICC took a decision but then Cricket Australia took even a more tougher stance on what happened during that series between South Africa and Australia, so we did consider that.

"Using wax is not allowed; we have never used external substances. We can use sweat."

Spin tipped to play bigger role amid change

The law change is expected to be rubber stamped in June by the ICC chief executives' committee.

Kumble, who snared 619 Test wickets during a decorated career, quipped that spin might play a bigger role in games.

"Everyone is talking about (how) it will affect the pacers, grass should be left (on pitches)," the former legspinner said.

Anil Kumble says spinners could be the big winners from future changes to the game. Pic: Getty

"Why not leave it dry and play two spinners?

"Of course, we all know saliva has been part and parcel of cricket for so many years. As bowlers, we used to apply saliva on ball, sometimes for grip also.

"But with this disease, it can also be asymptomatic. That is why we decided to ban it."

India's former captain and coach added the ban was "only an interim measure".

"As long as we have hopefully control over COVID in a few months or a year's time, then I think things will go back to as normal as it can be ... these rules won't apply," Kumble said.

"As long as the medical advisory doesn't change, the rule will stay."

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