In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, ICC Cricket Committee has recommended a ban on the traditional practice of using saliva to maintain the shine of the ball to avoid potential on-field viral spread.
Sharing his views on the recent developments, India speedster Jasprit Bumrah said he won’t miss the hugs and high-fives on cricket’s resumption but will certainly miss applying saliva on the ball.
Notably, the Anil Kumle-led committee did not allow the use of artificial substances as a substitute move.
Just like many former and current fast bowlers, Bumrah feels there ought to be an alternative to maintain the ball.
“I was not much of a hugger anyway and not a high-five person as well, so that doesn’t trouble me a lot. The only thing that interests me is the saliva bit,” said Bumrah in a chat with Ian Bishop and Shaun Pollock on ICC’s video series ‘Inside Out’.
In order to swing the ball, especially in the longest format, pacers around the world used to apply saliva on the cherry but the practice is now being seen as hazardous for health.
“I don’t know what guidelines we’ll have to follow when we come back, but I feel there should be an alternative. If the ball is not well maintained, it’s difficult for the bowlers. The grounds are getting shorter and shorter, the wickets are becoming flatter and flatter.”
“So we need something, some alternative for the bowlers to maintain the ball so that it can do something - maybe reverse in the end or conventional swing,” he explained.
Bumrah also agreed with former West Indian paceman Bishop that the conditions have been favourable to the fast bowlers in the last couple of years.
“In Test match cricket, yes. That is why it’s my favourite format, because we have something over there. But in one-day cricket and T20 cricket… one-day cricket there are two new balls, so it hardly reverses at the end. We played in New Zealand, the ground (boundary) was 50 metres. So even if you are not looking to hit a six, it will go for six. In Test matches I have no problem, I’m very happy with the way things are going.”
Bumrah finds it amusing that the batsmen keep complaining about the swinging ball.
“Whenever you play, I’ve heard the batsmen - not in our team, everywhere - complaining the ball is swinging. But the ball is supposed to swing! The ball is supposed to do something! We are not here just to give throwdowns, isn’t it? (laughter)
“This is what I tell batsmen all the time. In one-day cricket, when did the ball reverse last, I don’t know. Nowadays the new ball doesn’t swing a lot as well. So whenever I see batsmen say the ball is swinging or seaming and that is why I got out - the ball is supposed to do that,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)