With international cricket set to resume after a bit setback due to the Covid-19 outbreak, former Indian leg-spinner and present chairman of ICC’s Cricketing Committee Anil Kumble calls for the need to manage the workload of bowlers.
Known for always being on his toes back in his days, Kumble warned against rushing the bowlers back to the field.
Having experienced the sudden adrenaline rush which a player’s mind and body might not be able to consume after such a long break from being into action, he recommended a ‘stable balance between bat and ball’ once the game resumes.
“That’s why I believe that at training, they’ll have to start slowly,” opined Kumble who was speaking at a webinar hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
“Because it’s not just about coming back and playing in a match,” he felt. “It’s also about coming back from two-and-a-half months of lockdown. Especially if you are a bowler, you need to have those bowling overs under your belt before you start competing. So it’s important that you slowly and gradually come back into the sort of normalcy that you can.”
On may 21, England became the first team whose bowlers resumed to training with the batsmen and wicket-keepers joining from June 1. With the pandemic lockdown looking far from being entirely uplifted, the former Indian coach emphasised on the need for cricketers to be smart about maintaining their bodies, given the inescapable rust that might have crawled in during lockdown.
“I know England have announced a potential Test series against West Indies, subject to the government allowing them, but there again the players will have to have some sort of a cushion [or] a back-up in terms of loading up their body to be able to sustain a Test match because bowling 30 overs for a fast bowler… 30-40 overs for a spinner is not going to be easy,” Kumble added.
“And even for a batsman, the muscles which you use when you’re batting are totally different. In a match situation, you’re doing everything in a split of a second and you’re not training for those, especially in a home condition. So, you need to build it up and probably have a few friendly games before you get into an important Test match.”
The former Indian spinner also suggested having livelier pitches once Test cricket resumes, in order to ease the bowlers workload. “The advantage that cricket has over other sports is that there is an element of adjustable variance in the pitch, which not many sports have,” Kumble said. “You could manage the pitch in such a way that you could bring about a better balance between bat and ball.”
Another essential decision taken by ICC was about managing the condition of cricket balls during the matches post Covid-19. The recent ban of saliva and sweat on cricket balls by the ICC due to potential spreading of coronavirus was an appropriate deliberation, thinks Kumble.
“Based on medical advice, we believe that saliva could be the major contributor to carrying this disease and that’s why we banned the use of saliva, although it’s second nature in cricket,” the 49-year-old said. “That’s something that players will find hard to manage.”
As of the current news, West Indies’ tour of England is set to be international cricket’s inaugural comeback. On June 3, the West Indies Board announced a full-strength squad including the reserves on the bench for the tour.
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