New Delhi (AFP) – Indian Paceman Jasprit Bumrah says cricket must find “alternatives” to illuminate the ball if the game’s governing body prohibits the use of saliva during a coronavirus pandemic.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is likely to impose a ban on returning when they meet next week after receiving medical advice that spits poses a risk of transmitting COVID-19.
Handshakes, high-ranking parties and hugs may also be prohibited when international cricket is followed by safety protocols.
“I don’t like hugging too much, nor am I a tall person, so it doesn’t really bother me,” Bumrah said in an ICC video chat with former West Indies speed bowler Ian Bishop and ex-captain of South Africa, Shaun Pollock .
“The only thing that interests me is saliva,” added 26-year-old Bumrah.
“I don’t know what guidelines we should follow when we return, but I feel there must be an alternative.
“If the ball is not maintained properly, it is difficult for the bowler. The reason is getting shorter and shorter, the goal getting flatter. So we need something.”
Pace bowlers usually try to make the ball swing in the air by illuminating one side of their clothing using sweat or saliva and letting the other half become scratched.
Anil Kumble, chairman of the ICC cricket committee who recommended banning saliva, stressed the move was only a “temporary measure”.
Australian cricket ball manufacturer Kookaburra is developing a wax applicator that allows players to illuminate the ball without using saliva or sweat.
But its use will require changes in cricket laws that prohibit the use of artificial substances to change balls.
Test players in the past have been accused of using throat lozenges, petroleum jelly and resins to keep the sparkle on the ball, and also rubbing it with bottle caps, trousers zippers, grits or nails.
The most famous incident recently was in 2018, when Australian players tried to change the ball with sandpaper during the Test against South Africa in Cape Town, resulting in a long ban for the three involved – Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
Bumrah, who has emerged as India’s main paceman since the debut of Test in 2018, has claimed 68 goals in 14 Tests and 104 scalps in 64 international days.
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