Even as several members of the cricket fraternity, including some legendary bowlers, have expressed concern on the proposed ban on saliva to maintain the ball, former India pacer Javagal Srinath said sweat is a good alternative for saliva.
The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Committee, led by Anil Kumble, had recommended a ban on saliva once the sport resumes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. While no external applicants are going to be allowed, the ICC said there is no health issue regarding the use of sweat to maintain the ball.
Javagal Srinath, who has 551 international wickets in a decorated 13-year-long career, said bowlers have been using more sweat than saliva and it shouldn’t make a lot of difference when sport resumes.
“I think sweat is a good alternative for saliva. In fact, we use more sweat than saliva, so I think it should not really matter,” Srinath was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.
“I think it is a habit to put your hand into your mouth and start rubbing the ball, that would have to be contained now given the fresh guidelines. Sweat was always allowed and it will have a more role to play than the saliva in the near future.”
‘Players will find hard to manage’
Meanwhile, ICC Cricket Committee chief Anil Kumble has reiterated that it’s going to be difficult for bowlers without the usage of sweat while maintaining that the cricket body took the decision based on medical advice.
“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. That’s something that players will find hard to manage,” Kumble said in a webinar hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur said the players, who returned to training in a highly-protected environment in Colombo, said they preferred saliva over sweat after the practice sessions.
“It was interesting chatting to the bowlers, who said sweat made the ball a little bit heavier than saliva did. Saliva was their preferred mechanism of shining the ball. But it is what it is now, you’ve just got to get on with it,” Arthur told ESPNcricinfo.
Harbhajan Singh, speaking to India Today, had pointed out that the ban on saliva will not just affect the fast bowlers but also the spinners. The World Cup winner said sweat will make the ball heavy, thereby making it difficult for spinners to hang the cherry in the air for longer periods of time.
“If there is no shine on the ball, and if it is only heavy with sweat, the ball won’t hang in the air or it won’t dip and it won’t spin a lot. There will be problems in gripping also,” Harbhajan Singh said.
“Bowlers will be in more trouble. Sweat can only make the ball shine when it is new. But not once it is old.”