MCC bans use of saliva to shine ball, ‘Mankad’ no longer unfair play
Cricketers will not be allowed to use saliva to shine the ball while the rarely used but entirely permissible “Mankad” method of dismissing batters will not be listed under unfair play in new laws approved by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
Cricketers have used the age-old method of shining one side of the ball with saliva and sweat to help bowlers generate more movement in the air as it travels towards batters.
The new laws make permanent a ban on applying saliva to the ball due to health reasons, implemented when men’s cricket resumed after a Covid-19 suspension in July 2020.
The MCC said it found through research that the ban over this period had little or no impact on the amount of swing that bowlers were getting. Polishing the ball with sweat will still be permitted.
“The new laws will not permit the use of saliva on the ball, which also removes any grey areas of fielders eating sugary sweets to alter their saliva to apply to the ball,” the MCC said in a statement.
“Using saliva will be treated the same way as any other unfair methods of changing the condition of the ball.”
The Lord’s-based MCC, the sole authority on the laws of cricket since it was founded in 1787, said that the changes would be effective from Oct 1.
The “Mankad” dismissal involves a bowler choosing to whip off the bails when a non-striker steps out of the crease instead of completing his delivery to the batter on strike.
While legal, the dismissal, named after India bowler Vinoo Mankad who ran out Australia’s Bill Brown in similar fashion in 1947, has been considered against the spirit of the game.
The MCC said that although the wording of the law would remain the same, it would move from Law 41 (Unfair play) to Law 38 (Run out).
In other changes, the MCC said when a batter is out caught, the new player in will come in at the end the striker was at and face the next ball, even if the batters cross while the ball was in the air, unless it is the end of an over.