England captain Joe Root feels the ban on using saliva to shine the ball to combat the COVID-19 threat might improve the skills of the bowlers, who will have to work harder to get something out of the pitch. Root said it could ‘work in our favour and up-skill levels’. The Anil Kumble-led ICC cricket committee has recommended banning the use of saliva to shine the ball when play resumes. The ICC has also barred the practice in its guidelines for the resumption of cricket.

“Not having the assistance that you might normally have meant your accuracy has to improve,” he was quoted as saying by metro.co.uk.

“Guys will have to find another way to get something out of the surface, whether that’s a bit more effort, changing angles on the crease, using the wobble seam they might not have in their locker.

“It could develop our bowlers in a four or five-week period.”

The issue has led to divided opinions among past and present cricketers across the globe.

While Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins has urged the game’s custodians to come out with an alternate option to strike a balance between bat and ball, former West Indies pacer Michael Holding has cast doubts on the use of the artificial substance.

Spin legend Shane Warne has suggested that one side of the ball be made heavier to ensure that it doesn’t need any shining.