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Deep Dasgupta says saliva ban could take away important weapon from bowlers armoury

Bengaluru, May 21: Former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta says the ban on using saliva to shine the ball fearing the spread of coronavirus could take away an important weapon of the bowlers armoury.

Earlier this week, cricket's apex body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) recommended on use of saliva to shine the ball as it could lead to the spread of COVID-19.

Cricketers former and present have had mixed feelings about the proposed ban with some giving different suggestions as a solution and many others opposing the idea of banning saliva as they feel it could affect the bowlers.

Dasgupta like many cricketers had his say on the issue to, stating that it will be difficult for palyers to adapt.

"It's a very important part of bowlers' armoury. From that perspective, it is a big thing. So how they will adapt that is something we'll have to wait and see. Having said that obviously it is a big thing," said Dasgupta.

Kumble-led ICC committee recommends ban on saliva due to pandemic

While Harbhajan Singh has suggested the use of two new balls in Test cricket, fellow spinner R Ashwin feels it will be difficult to get rid of the habit once cricket resumes. Dasgupta also was anxious to know what solution will they come up with as he doesn't see any big difference with two new balls.

"Well, they have to find a way. That is a possibility. See saliva is such a versatile tool. You're talking about changing balls so that it can make a difference to fast bowlers. Now then what happens to the spinners when they play outside the sub-continent. I can understand it will help the fast bowlers, even to the spinners to some extent," said Dasgupta.

Australia's leading sports manufacturer Kookaburra has developed a wax applicator to allow cricket balls to be shined as an alternative to sweat or saliva, but under cricket's laws, players cannot apply artificial substances to the ball. So, it's interesting to what alternative will get approved in the end.

Kookaburra develops wax applicator as alternative to polish cricket balls in post COVID-19 world

Deep Dasgupta, meanwhile, feels that nothing can replace saliva as it has been a vital part of the game for ages and getting it out of the system is going to be a tough one.

"Very difficult to replace saliva. It helps you in normal swing, it helps you in reverse swing. Even the drift for the spinners, that part being there it will obviously affect the bowlers. I can't think of anything else that can replace saliva.

"Ban of saliva is not really going to affect the batsman and the wicketkeepers. It will not affect the skill part of the side for a batsman. We will have to be careful. Saliva has been such an important part of cricket.

"When a batsman hits the ball a fielder fields it and shines it using saliva. It's in muscle memory, it's a natural process. It has always been such an influencing part of sports, so getting it out of the system is going to be a tough one," said Dasgupta.

Meanwhile, Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood like India's spinner Ashwin says the ban on saliva to shine the ball will be very difficult to adapt.

Cummins accepts risk of using saliva but says cricket need alternate option to shine ball

"I'd like saliva to be used obviously but if that's what they've put forward, I guess everyone is playing the same game," he told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

"Once it comes back to you as a bowler, it's second nature to just give it a little touch up if you see something, and that's going to be hard to stop to be honest. And it's a tough thing to monitor for sure," he added.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Story first published: Thursday, May 21, 2020, 9:15 [IST]
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