Saliva-ban will impact spinners' ability to impart drift on the ball - Mujeeb Ur Rahman 

The ICC has imposed interim ban on applying saliva to the ball in wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman | AFP Afghanistan's Mujeeb Ur Rahman stressed upon the impact that saliva-ban will have on spinners, especially their ability to drift the cricket ball in matches played amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In wake of the deadly outbreak, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has discontinued usage of saliva on the cricket ball on an interim basis in order to avoid potential on-field Coronavirus spread. 

Read Also - "Saliva-ban a challenge for bowlers reliant on swing": Bhuvneshwar Kumar 

The players have been foretold about the new norm so that they can mentally adjust and start preparing accordingly. If players accidentally happen to still apply the saliva, umpires will warn them and ensure the ball is properly sanitized before being brought back in play. 

The saliva is considered important to all kinds of bowlers, as it creates weight imbalance on the ball and aids movement in the air. 

"Of course it [saliva] helps both the pacers and spinners. You get to have better drift. You can have a better break as you can hold the ball well in your fingers to spin it,'' Mujeeb told Cricbuzz

"Saliva is important but so far there aren't any games. It can be seen how it reacts in the matches after some [games] are played."

"We are not using saliva anymore in the nets to prepare ourselves for the matches and we will see how things go in the matches. Saliva is [also] important for pacers, but they will have a better idea once they play two to three matches," he added. 

With Afghanistan's fixture-list affected by the lockdown, players have felt thankful to the resumption of training in Kabul to get themselves engaged in keeping fit. 

''The training camp has been useful," Mujeeb said. "Because we hadn't played cricket for some time, so it certainly affects your fitness. However, for our preparations, our in house games and gym equipment came [in] very handy. We really needed this practice, so the training camp was really good. We are focusing both on skills and fitness as both are essential."

International cricket will return in a bio-secure bubble, without crowd presence, via the start of the Test series between host England and West Indies on July 8. 

There is a possibility that such a bubble can be replicated by other cricket boards in order to finally go ahead with their matches despite the pandemic. 

For Afghanistan players, this will mean another adjustment in terms of the deafening silence at stadiums. 

''Well, you can play the match without it [crowd], but it is important that there is a crowd because (then) you play with more enthusiasm," said Mujeeb. "When you take a catch and if it is a big crowd, you enjoy it more. The bigger the crowd, the better the match feels."

''Crowd is nice. It motivates you. You get motivation from the crowd. If it's the rival team's crowd and you take a catch, it motivates you more and you play with more enthusiasm. So the crowd is important. Nonetheless, we can still play our matches without a crowd," he added. 


By Kashish Chadha - 07 Jul, 2020

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