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To spit or not: Bowlers face 'saliva' conundrum in post COVID-19 scenario


NEW DELHI: Bowlers using saliva to polish the ball is a common sight in cricket however in a post COVID-19 global, they may need to rethink the apply, making their lives tougher in what, many believe, has already become a batsman's recreation.

In the wake of the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, the scrutiny on ball repairs has handiest increased however using sweat and saliva on it stays prison.

Given the worsening COVID-19 scenario, it's not likely that cricket will resume anytime soon and when it in any case does, former players, including Venkatesh Prasad, Praveen Kumar and Jason Gillespie, feel the sport's custodians would possibly need to droop the usage of saliva.

"When the action resumes, they should use only sweat for some time as safety of the players is paramount," former pacer Prasad, who played 33 Tests and 161 ODIs for India, instructed PTI.

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He reckons it'll be difficult for the bowlers to forestall using saliva to work up the ball however it is the need of the hour.

"When you're in the thick of things, you generally tend to fail to remember it. You need to get the upper hand over the batsmen as you can't use anything else but even so sweat and saliva.

"The question is what do you do when the batsman is pulping you? You need to swing the ball and what helps swing the ball is the aerodynamics," the 50-year-old defined.

In fact, it had become a big speaking point in the Indian dressing room closing month once they were to take on South Africa in a three-match ODI collection closing month.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar had hinted at restricting the usage of saliva however the bowlers weren't truly examined on that entrance as the collection was once known as off because of the emerging danger from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Without saliva, sweat stays the one different prison supply to polish the ball however that may be tricky, in step with Prasad.

"Because now not everyone sweats. In that case, it's a must to stay throwing the ball to any individual who sweats. I am any individual who doesn't sweat that much whereas Rahul Dravid does," he recalled.

Praveen Kumar, recognized for his prodigious swing, mentioned striking the right amount of saliva at the ball aided his art immensely.

"For the first few months after motion resumes, they are going to have to prohibit the usage of saliva. As bowlers, we can need to look for any other supply," he mentioned with fun.

"...it is important to for the quick bowlers, additionally for the spinners, as it helps them generate flow. For an off-spinner, the glossy side at the left will flow the ball away in the air prior to coming again. It checks the batsman," he reasoned.

"For me, saliva was once of great assist whilst opening the bowling as well as reversing the outdated ball," mentioned Kumar, who took a five-wicket haul at Lord's in 2011.

The global will never be the same even if it is able to overcome the present disaster. In the sort of state of affairs, the way in which the sport is played could also be prone to trade.

Former Australia pacer Gillespie mentioned time has come to rethink the usage of saliva in the recreation.

"I don't think it is a quirky question. It's a real authentic factor to be considered," Gillespie, who took 259 Test wickets, instructed 'ABC Grandstand'.

"I don't think anything is off the table. It is usually a point the place on the end of each over, the umpires allow the players to polish the ball in entrance of them however you can handiest do it then. I don't know. Is it simply sweat? Can you handiest use sweat?

"I don't have an answer to that but it certainly will be a conversation that will be had. If you think about it, it is pretty gross," mentioned the cricketer-turned-coach.

Prasad, then again, reminded that bowling isn't just about using sweat and saliva, conditions additionally subject immensely.

"It doesn't subject when you use saliva or now not as long as you follow appropriate quantity of sweat and shine it off. If the opposite side has a tendency to get tough (because of dryness), automatically you get opposite swing.


"When I got 6/33 towards Pakistan in Chennai (1999), the opposite (swing) happened because of the situation of the ball, pitch and the elements. So, it isn't just about saliva. A lot of different factors additionally come into play," he mentioned.


He reiterated that the usage of saliva will have to be stopped even if it will be difficult for the bowlers to let cross of a tradition they are so used to.


"For everybody's safety, it will have to be suspended however if you're getting smashed, you are going to sub-consciously try to do your best to swing the ball and that would possibly include (using) saliva.


"If you are not able to swing the ball like you used to, you risk getting dropped. How do you address that?" Prasad requested.


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