Anil Kumble admits saliva ban will be tough for pacers, bats for bowler-friendly pitches in Tests

The Kumble-led ICC Cricket Committee has recommended a ban on saliva to avoid potential COVID-19 spread.

Fast bowlers apply saliva on the ball for swing purpose | AFPIn 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.

Notably, the Anil Kumle-led committee did not allow the use of artificial substances as a substitute move.

No wonder, many former and current fast bowlers feel there ought to be an alternative to maintain the ball or else Test cricket would tilt heavily in favour of batsmen with swing hard to obtain.

See Also: Mitchell Starc feels saliva ban will not be effective in places like India

In fact, Kumble is also aware of the issue and thus he has supported bowler-friendly pitches to address such an imbalance.

“Looking after bowlers is not just allowing artificial substances. You can leave grass on the surface or even rough it up and have two spinners,” India’s highest Test wicket-taker said in a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) webinar on Wednesday (June 3).

“Let’s get the spinner back in the game; in a Test. We would love to have two spinners in Australia or England, which does not happen often. You (only) see that in the subcontinent,” he added.

The legendary leg-spinner further stated that his panel’s resistance to the use of artificial substances on the ball mainly came from cricket’s history of penalising such acts.

“All these years we’ve been very strict on what not to use on the ball. Now to go back and relax it we felt is something we should not do. In the recent past, ICC came hard on certain players, and Cricket Australia came out even harder. We did discuss but unanimously agreed we won’t take that route,” he said.

Kumble’s idea is to keep the bowlers in the game by providing pitches which aid their art.

"Cricket is a very different sport. The advantage that cricket has over other sports is that there is an adjustable element in the pitch. We in the cricket committee believe that if you want a better balance between bat and the ball, you can still probably leave grass on the surface, or even rough it up and have two spinners. Let's get spinners back in the game in a Test," he said.

The former India captain doesn’t think white-ball cricket would be affected by it.

“In an ODI or a T20 game, we are not really worried about shining the ball. Sweat can take care of that.”

(Inputs from Hindustan Times)


By Salman Anjum - 04 Jun, 2020

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