West Indies pace legend Michael Holding feels the Board of Control for Cricket in India has every right to hold the Indian Premier League later this year if the T20 World Cup in Australia is postponed.

There is speculation that the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held between October 18 and November 15, may be postponed due to travel restrictions in place in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, giving BCCI a window to organise the IPL.

“I don’t think ICC is delaying the T20 World Cup because they are making space for the IPL. It’s the Australian government’s law where they are not allowing any visitors into the country before a specific date,” Holding said in an Instagram Live with Nikhil Naz.

“But if there is no T20 World Cup, the BCCI has all rights to go ahead and organise a domestic tournament because there’s a space. If they are encroaching on other people’s tournament, you could say okay.”

The cricketer-turned-commentator also weighed in on the proposal to ban saliva to shine balls.

Anil Kumble-led ICC Cricket Committee has recently recommended a ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball but allowed sweat as an interim measure to counter the Covid-19 threat.

“First of all, I don’t think this saliva ban is a serious problem. The problem with this ban is that the cricketers will take some time to adjust. It’s a natural reaction when you are on the field and you want to shine the ball, you use saliva.”

The 66-year-old felt that sweat can do the role of shining the ball as effectively as saliva.

“All you need to do is to get moisture on the ball and you can get that from your sweat. You don’t have to use the usual saliva. The perspiration from your arm or your forehead will do the same job as saliva. And I’ve not heard anyone say that Covid-19 can be spread by perspiration.

“I don’t think any practical problem in banning saliva. It’s just a logistical problem of people being accustomed to do it and will have to practice not doing it,” he added.

Kumble had said that cricket should utilise pitches to ensure an even contest between the bat and ball but Holding disagreed with the view.

“I don’t believe in interfering with pitches. Some groundsmen might not be good enough to do exactly what is required and then the match gets spoiled. So, I will just leave the pitch and try to coach players to stop putting their fingers in their mouth,” the expert commentator added.

Asked whether the future of one-dayers is at stake in the times of T20 cricket, Holding said: “I don’t think ICC will ever get rid of 50 overs cricket because that’s one of their biggest earners as far as TV rights is concerned. The money will be slashed drastically.”

Not a big fan of the T20 version of the game, Holding said it’s high time to stop making the game shorter and shorter.

“The problem is people’s attention span getting shorter and shorter. In T20, they enjoy the razzmatazz of the excitement. Long before you had your first 10-10 game, you would see people getting bored with T20. And I still see at some point people will get to five-five.

“People with short attention span will get attracted to that. But it is my belief you should not always cater to people’s short attention. You can’t just keep on getting shorter and shorter. We can’t keep on going in that direction, then you are left with nothing,” he remarked.

He also joked: “I have been warning the world 20-20 is no good. See what happened this year.”

The former West Indian pacer also recalled the time when Kerry Packer’s World Cricket Series threatened to change cricket forever.

“When Kerry Packer launched the World Cricket Series he said Test cricket is dead. This 50-over format under lights is what the people want to see,” Holding said.

“That was 43 years ago. Test cricket is still going. 50-over cricket is now more likely as you said to disappear. People are attracted to new things but it’s just for a short span of time. If you keep on going in that direction of shortening the game, you’ll be left with nothing,” he added.

Holding picked Australian Pat Cummins as the best fast bowler of the present generation.

“He (Cummins) is the man at the moment. Before him, I was a huge fan of Dale Steyn. The best we have seen in the last 10 years.”

A fan of Bob Marley, Holding was asked to describe Indian skipper Virat Kohli through one song of the famous Jamaican reggae artist.

“Buffallo Soldier,” he said, as he picked Kohli ahead of Rohit Sharma as the “best white-ball cricketer” of the current generation.

(With PTI inputs)

You can watch the full video chat here