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I am scared, hope people don’t forget reverse swing: Mohammed Shami on saliva ban

India fast bowler Mohammed Shami said he is concerned about International Cricket Council’s decision to ban the usage of saliva to shine cricket balls, saying bowlers have always had to bear the brunt in the sport.

Mohammed Shami said he is scared about the future of fast bowlers and that he hopes reverse swing doesn’t become a forgotten art. Shami said sweat can be used to make the ball hard but saliva is a must when it comes to aiding reverse swing in the sport.

The ICC ratified the Cricket Committee’s recommendation on saliva ban as part of precautionary measures in the times of Covid-19. Cricket Committee chairman Anil Kumble, speaking to India Today, said the measures are temporary solutions but necessary to make sure cricket resumes in a safe and secure environment.

“Bowlers have always had to bear the brunt. When the T20 format was introduced it became a form of entertainment for the fans where the bowlers took a beating while the batsmen made merry. Now saliva might be banned in Test cricket,” Shami said.

“I’ve started to feel scared now, I hope people don’t forget reverse swing. We have been used to this since childhood and it has a huge contribution in reverse swing. Now it will be very difficult and challenging.

“We use sweat to make the ball heavier and softer but reverse swing needs saliva, it keeps the ball harder, shinier and the ball reverses also. Now the challenge will be not to use our saliva which will be our biggest challenge.”

ICC must make conditions bowler-friendly: Irfan

Meanwhile, Irfan Pathan, speaking at Salaam Cricket 2020, said It’s now the ICC’s responsibility to make sure the pitches are livelier in the absence of saliva for bowlers.

“We need to understand how much impact this will have on the game. ICC is mulling allowing players to shine the ball using artificial substances but I don’t think that is the right decision. Saliva ban will be temporary. The ball won’t cut the air as much now, sweat is not as effective as saliva especially when it comes to reverse swing.

“This will have a bigger impact in Test cricket and it is now the ICC’s responsibility to make the pitches livelier now, make it friendly for the bowlers, either turning tracks or something. Not make it flat for the batsmen for a while,” Irfan said.

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