Australias greatest ever off-spinner Nathan Lyon believes spin wont take on greater importance in international cricket despite new rules banning the use of saliva to enable the ball to swing.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has banned the use of saliva for hygienic reasons amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has traditionally been used by fielding teams to shine one side of the ball to enable swing from the fast bowlers.
Sweat will still be permitted but there has been strong reaction from fast bowlers about the decision on their craft.
Lyon, who has played 96 Tests for Australia and taken 390 wickets, said he didnt expect spin to take on extra importance as a result.
“You’re not allowed to put saliva on the ball so I think spinners might open the bowling,” Lyon initially joked.
On a more serious note, he added: “I think spin plays a massive role anyway.
“I don’t think its going to change too much out here in Australia. I cant see us picking three spinners to play at the GABBA.
“In my eyes spin plays a massive role no matter where you play in the world.
“Hopefully it goes back to a normal situation after COVID has passed. We need to be smart about personal hygiene, but fingers crossed cricket stays the same.
“It’s the best game in the world so hopefully we don’t change it too much.”
Australia has largely managed the coronavirus outbreak well, with only 103 deaths and 7,519 confirmed cases.
However, Victoria has recently seen the first signs of a second wave of cases, while the rest of the country is beginning to return to normal. For example, Western Australia will next month allow full stadiums for local football.
The situation has put in doubt the 2020-21 international cricket schedule in Australia, with crowds paramount to Cricket Australias finances.
Victoria hosts the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, traditionally the biggest fixture on the international cricket calendar, but the states coronavirus issue has put that in jeopardy, given alternate options for attendance.
“I can’t imagine it being anywhere than Melbourne,” Lyon said.
“The Boxing Day Test match is an amazing game to play. But I’m just an off-break bowler, so no one is going to listen to my opinions.”
The spinner, who has been pigeonholed as a Test player only, also pushed his case for selection for Australias ODI and T20I tour of England scheduled for September.
“I’m still putting my hand up for selection in white ball cricket,” the 32-year-old said.
“That’s one area where I want to be. I want to be part of that tour. I just need to keep working really hard here at NSW.”