Give us no-saliva options: Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah won’t miss the hugs and high-fives as part of a wicket celebration, but he will certainly miss applying saliva on the ball and feels an alternative should be provided to maintain the red cherry.
The ICC Cricket Committee, led by former India captain Anil Kumble, has recommended a ban on using saliva on the ball as an interim measure to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the Committee did not allow the use of artificial substances as a substitute.
The new rule makes life tougher for the bowlers and Bumrah, like many former and current fast bowlers, feels there ought to be an alternative. “I was not much of a hugger anyway and not a high-five person as well, so that doesn’t trouble me a lot. The only thing that interests me is the saliva bit,” Bumrah said in a chat with Ian Bishop and Shaun Pollock on ICC’s video series ‘Inside Out’.
“I don’t know what guidelines we’ll have to follow when we come back, but I feel there should be an alternative,” he added.
Bumrah said not being able to use saliva makes the game more batsman-friendly. “If the ball is not well maintained, it’s difficult for the bowlers. The grounds are getting shorter and shorter, the wickets are becoming flatter and flatter. So we need something, some alternative for the bowlers to maintain the ball, so that it can do something… maybe reverse in the end or conventional swing.”
He finds it amusing that the batsmen keep complaining about the swinging ball. “Whenever you play, I’ve heard the batsmen everywhere complaining that the ball is swinging. But then the ball is supposed to swing! The ball is supposed to do something! We are not here just to give throwdowns, isn’t it?”
He, however, finds himself in an unusual position as he has not bowled for over two months owing to the lockdown. Bumrah said he is not sure how his body will hold up when he returns to action.
“I’m trying to keep up with training, so that as soon as the grounds open up, the body is in decent shape. I’ve been training almost six days a week but I’ve not bowled for a long period of time, so I don’t know how the body will react when I bowl the first ball,” he said.