Legend’s dire warning for cricket purists

Former Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor has issued a dire warning about the future of Test cricket after the International Cricket Council announced a series of newly-introduced regulations.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 when cricket resumes, the ICC has banned the application of saliva on the ball, a common practice among pace bowlers in the sport.

A team can be issued with up to two warnings per innings, but repeated use of saliva on the ball would result in a five-run penalty to the batting side.

The ICC explained in a statement: “The umpires will manage the situation with some leniency during an initial period of adjustment for the players.”

South African captain Faf du Plessis using saliva to shine the ball.Source:AAP

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Rubbing saliva and sweat onto one side of a cricket ball enables bowlers to swing it through the air, and Taylor believes Test batsmen will be unfairly advantaged after the drastic rule changes are introduced.

“I think it is a concern,” Taylor said on Channel 9’s Sports Sunday.

“I like to see, particularly in Test matches, the ball slightly dominate the bat. It’s a much better game when Test cricket is played like that.

“My concern will be that if the players can’t shine the ball, and the ball does get very straight and predictable, we are going to see more and more runs, and more and more high scores in Test match cricket. And that’s not the best Test match cricket.

“Test cricket is much better when the score’s around about 300.”

'We're going to see more high scoring games, that's not the best Test match cricket'

Mark Taylor reacts to the saliva ball shining ban.

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Cricket traditionalists voiced their disgust as numbers were added to the back of Test uniforms last year. The change was implemented for the first time during the 2019 Ashes series in England, and received mixed feedback.

However, the ICC has gone a step further, but allowing teams to add another advertising logo to the front of the shirt.

With commercial income set to take a hit — given that cricket will resume without fans at the grounds — the ICC has relaxed rules on apparel logos, but thankfully only for the next 12 months.

Sponsors’ logos will now be permitted in the prime position of the chest of a Test match shirt or sweater in addition to the three others presently allowed under ICC regulations.

Currently, logos on chests are only allowed in one-day matches and Twenty20 internationals.

Taylor admitted to being a cricket “purist” and was sceptical of the decision.

“I hope this is only a short-term things, because I’m not a fan,” Taylor said on Sunday.

“I wasn’t a fan of the numbers either, because I didn’t think the numbers worked. I think numbers only work when there’s a position attached to them, like there is in rugby league and rugby union.

“Obviously sponsorship will be different, because it’s a brand, but as I said, I’m a bit of a purist. I like to see less on the playing shirt of Test match players and more just about the game.”

Advertising on cricket whites… Are you a fan?

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Sydney Morning Herald journalist Georgina Robinson explained the attire modification was “a purely commercial“ decision designed to generate extra revenue.

“It’s designed to bring some money into the game at a time when all the revenue taps have been turned off,” Robinson said.

But colleague Andrew Webster was less accepting of the change.

“I hate it,” he bluntly asserted.

“I hated the numbers. There are some things that remain sacred, and Test cricket remains sacred.

“I’m not a fan of four day Tests.

“I just think some things should remain the same.”

— With AAP

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