Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar said the International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to plan for alternative ways to create a level-playing field in the absence of saliva for bowlers to shine the cricket ball.
Sachin Tendulkar, speaking at Salaam Cricket 2020, said bowlers need to be given more options or else they will be at a disadvantage due to the ban on saliva.
The ICC ratified the Cricket Committee’s recommendation on the 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.
While revealing that some of his friends have joked about the possibility of bowling machines replacing bowlers in the near future, Sachin Tendulkar urged the ICC to consider options, including usage of wax and a new ball after 50 overs to maintain the ball-bat balance in Test cricket.
“Some of my friends who are bowlers have told me that after some time we might see two bowling machines being used at both ends to feed balls to batsmen during matches and cricket will be played like that,” Tendulkar said.
“The game will change for sure. According to the new rules from the ICC, saliva has been banned so how will the ball swing now or in the middle overs… In some countries players don’t sweat much because of the weather, so how will you shine the ball?
“For such situations, a box of wax can be given to the umpires, ICC should decide how many grams of wax to give. Per innings, the quota can be set, whatever the ICC deems correct. They can decide whether to change the ball after 45-50 overs. If you give the bowlers more options then we can make it an even playing field. But with this saliva ban bowlers will be at a disadvantage.”
Thinking and planning needed to tackle the issue: Tendulkar
Tendulkar also suggested creating bowler-friendly wickets in Test matches to tackle the issues due to the ban on saliva.
“If the wickets are bowler-friendly then we can have one ball but if that is not the case then we can change the ball after 45-50 overs. We can give the opposition a choice whether to have a new ball or keep operating with the old ball. Or they can have the new ball from one end and old ball from the other.
“Sometimes spinners are more effective with the new ball and seamers use the old ball for reverse swing. This way the game will not be monotonous, it will involve a lot of thinking and planning.”
Earlier in the day, fast bowler Mohammed Shami, speaking at Salaam Cricket 2020, said he is concerned over the ban on saliva and is wondering if reverse swing will become a forgotten art due to the changes.
“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,” Shami said.