Former Indian pacers Ashish Nehra and Irfan Pathan believe India’s quicks will have some serious challenges, especially in Australian conditions, to operate without the use of saliva. The International Cricket Council, in May, banned the use of saliva to shine the ball – a crucial factor that helps gain the swing momentum – in the post Covid-19 era of cricket.
Watching the England bowlers struggle against the West Indies in the recent Test match, Nehra and Pathan realised the challenges for Indian fast bowlers and pointed out how tough it is going to be for the pacers to bowl without saliva.
“Jimmy Anderson was bowling short of length at times and he never bowls such short of length. Because the Dukes ball wasn’t swinging. The reason being lack of shine with no saliva being allowed and whenever he tried pitching up, the Windies batsmen were driving easily,” Nehra told PTI on Monday.
“Not being able to use saliva when there isn’t much perspiration will be a problem. Anderson’s strength is to pitch it up and get it to swing which leads to caught behind and slip catches. He looked half the bowler when it stopped swinging.”
India are scheduled to tour Australia in November for a T20I tri-series, followed by the four-Test Border-Gavaskar trophy. With three months left, and given the fact that BCCI is yet to decide on the training camp to help cricketers get back in the groove, the fast bowlers will have to be ready for a grave challenge, feels Pathan.
However, he does have a solution – the use of external factor – that may help the bowlers to balance the swing.
“Allow use of external substance or else for some time forget that reverse swing exists. Make pitches that will be conducive to seam bowling. Since saliva is thicker, it affects reverse swing more than conventional swing which requires sweat for shining the ball. Till the pandemic is there and the rule stays, the bowlers will have it a bit tougher than usual,” Pathan suggested PTI.
“If you ask me keep a bit of moisture to make it 60/40 in favour of bowlers. If there’s moisture, the ball would grip the surface and then both sweat and saliva are out of equation. Hit the seam and ball will move around, or else there will be dead rubbers.”
England is currently hosting West Indies in a three-Test series which marks the resumption of international cricket after the Covid-19 pandemic outburst. West Indies swept the first Test match and won by four wickets.
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