Lot to sweat over swing, warns Nehra
International cricket resumed with an intriguing contest between bat and ball in the Southampton Test. But the job of bowlers will only get tougher going forward because of the modified ICC regulations owing to the pandemic, feels Ashish Nehra.
Ban on applying saliva on the ball has resulted in a decline in swing for the bowlers, Nehra says.
The Test match at the Ageas Bowl, which West Indies won by four wickets, wasn’t a high-scoring one. But barring the first couple of days, where overhead conditions helped the seamers, the batsmen hardly had trouble dealing with the swing or the lack of it.
According to Nehra, bowlers can still work something out with the Dukes ball with the help of sweat, but with the Kookaburra, their task could be an arduous one as it loses shine and swing quicker after the initial phase.
“You played with the Dukes ball and in English conditions, yet there wasn’t enough swing. So what happens when you play in Australia and South Africa where they use the Kookaburra ball, which loses shine quickly after initial phases and doesn’t swing at all when it’s old?
“Yes, sweat also works, but it is not as thick as saliva. The Dukes ball may still reverse with sweat, but with the Kookaburra, bowlers, thanks to the new guidelines, will find the going tough in every sense,” the former India left-arm pacer told The Telegraph.
Explaining how the balance will be tilted more towards the batsmen, Nehra elaborated: “During our time, only players of the calibre of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and Sourav Ganguly averaged 40 or more in ODIs. But look at the current picture… So many of the batters have a 40-plus average, while those at a level above them are in the 50-55 range… The rule changes have had a major role to play in this case.
“So what I mean to say is that in the coming days, you will see even more and more runs scored.”
England’s spearhead and their go-to bowler, particularly at home Tests, James Anderson, went wicketless in the second innings.
“Anderson couldn’t quite pitch it up... See, Anderson is not a tearaway fast bowler. He relies on swing. Now if there’s no swing, he will face difficulties,” Nehra explained.
England, Nehra agreed, also missed a trick in not including Stuart Broad in the Southampton game. “They should’ve included Broad, and I would say so even if Wood had a five-for.
“Broad is far more experienced in these conditions, while going in with Moeen Ali instead of Dom Bess could also have posed greater problems for the Windies batsmen,” Nehra pointed out.