India’s veteran cricketers – Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra feel that sweat and saliva are the necessary components to maintain the shine of the ball and provide aid to the bowlers who tried to generate swing. The world body of cricket – International Cricket Council (ICC) is contemplating to legalise ball-tampering post-COVID-19 outbreak by using artificial substances to prevent the spread of virus. Also Read - ICC Bans Qadeer Khan For 5 Years For Corruption, Charges Mehardeep on Six Counts
The council is thus considering to allow the usage of artificial substances like vaseline to polish the red-ball under umpire’s supervision in the longest format, according to an ESPNCricinfo report. The idea is to keep the players away from using saliva and sweat to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Also Read - IPL 2021 Today Match Report, DC vs MI Scorecard: Amit Mishra, Shikhar Dhawan Star in Delhi Capitals' Six-Wicket Win Over Mumbai Indians
Former India pacer Ashish Nehra and spinner Harbhajan Singh feel that saliva’s use in shining the ball is a “must”. Ex-opener Aakash Chopra, while is open to the idea, wants to know where one can draw the line. Also Read - IPL 2021: Ashish Nehra Questions KL Rahul's Bowling Strategy
While discussions are at nascent stage, questions are already being asked about what external substances could be used if ball-tampering becomes legal?
Is it going to be bottle cap in the pocket to scuff up one side of the ball, vaseline to shine (made famous by John Lever) or chain zipper?
“Get one thing clear at the onset. The ball will not swing if you don’t apply sweat or saliva on the ball. That’s a basic necessity of swing bowling. The moment ball gets scuffed up from one side, sweat and saliva must be applied on the other side,” Nehra, who completely shot down the idea of using external substances, told PTI.
He went on to explain why vaseline alone can’t help a pacer.
“Now let’s understand why do you need saliva? Sweat is heavier than saliva but both are heavy enough to make one side of the ball heavier for reverse swing. Vaseline comes into the picture only after sweat and saliva, not before that.
“It is lighter and doesn’t even ensure conventional swing. It can keep the shine but doesn’t make the ball heavy,” the World Cup-winning former pacer said.
Nehra then gave the example of Englishman Lever who created a furore during his team’s 1976 tour of India by applying vaseline during a Test match.
“I can bet Lever used to sweat and saliva and then applied vaseline. Vaseline only helps the ball to skid and nothing more. You apply vaseline only, the ball will just go straight. You can check that with any fast bowler,” he said.
Harbhajan also agreed that saliva if one has already chewed mint, which has sugar in it, makes it heavier. But when it
comes to using external substance, he wants to know what can be the options.
“It’s not that Murray mint can be used without putting it in your mouth. The coat of sugar on the saliva makes it heavier after one side gets scuffed. A scuffed-up ball is also good for spinners as it ensures a better grip than a shiny new ball. But my question is, if you allow, what’s the limit?
“Suppose you legalise ball-tampering and let people use a bottle cap. Now the ball starts reversing from the fifth over. Is it fair? Or maybe umpires come into play and they tell you now is the time when you can use an external substance.
“I mean, in any case, taking saliva out of the equation means taking swing out which may not be a good idea,” said the owner of 700-plus international wickets.
(With Agency Inputs)