Used to spit on my fingers before catching balls in slip cordon: Faf du Plessis on saliva ban in cricket

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The coronavirus pandemic has literally changed anything and everything in the world. The sporting world was known to be the most expressive one, emotions or aggression everything was jeered as well as cheered but most importantly it was enjoyed without any restrictions.

Cricket as a sport does not see many physical contacts between the players, it’s a game of gentlemen and playes don’t push or shove each other. SALIVA — was the only point of contact in all the matches played in the history of the game and that has been barred from the game too. Yes, coronavirus has changed everything.

While people think the ban of saliva will primarily be a cause of problem for bowlers, former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis says that the fielders will also suffer. Faf du Plessis, a brilliant fielder in all parts of the ground, said that he is used to spitting on his fingers as that helps him catch the balls in the slip cordon easily.

Du Plessis was quick to site the example of the former Australia captain Ricky Ponting also. He said the Australian stalwart used to have a “big spit” on his hand while trying to take the catches.

“For the fielders, it’s the same. As Brett mentions, I’m used to taking a bit of spit on my fingers before I catch the ball at slip. If you look at someone like Ricky Ponting, he has a big spit on his hands every time he tried to catch a ball,” Du Plessis said on Start Sports show ‘Cricket Connected’.

Former Australia pacer Brett Lee like other find the ban not easy to implement. The legendary speedster reckons that a player has done it throughout his playing career and it will never be easy to get over this habit overnight. He opines that this might be the reason for ICC to be lenient on players breaching the advisory.

“When you have done something your whole life from 8,9, 10 years of age where you lick your fingers and you put on the ball, it’s very hard to change that overnight too. So, I think there’s going to be a couple of occasions, or there’s going to be some leniency I think from the ICC, where there may be warnings. It’s a great initiative, it’s going to be very hard to implement I think, because cricketers have done this for their whole life.”

ICC in its ‘Back to cricket guidelines’ has said that saliva should not be used on the ball to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and also added that “it is expected to ban the use of saliva on the ball in the very near future (on medical advice)”.

However, the cricketers will have to follow the guidelines once the sport resumes and it will be interesting to see how many of them do it out of habit. It will be even more interesting to see what the officials do after the ‘mistake’ is done. Will they straightaway tell the player to leave the ground or will they wait for match referees to take the action or will the sanitise the ball on the spot.

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