#NewsBytesExplainer: How will 'no saliva' rule impact different cricket balls?
The ICC Cricket Committee recently recommended restricting the use of saliva to shine the ball. The Anil Kumble-led committee unanimously agreed to make the traditional method redundant for safeguarding players' health. ICC also banned the use of saliva in the recently released guidelines. Meanwhile, several bowlers believe the rule will take swing out of equation. Let us analyze its effect on different balls.
Three different types of balls are used in Test cricket - Kookaburra, Dukes and SG balls. The Kookaburra balls are mainly used in Australia, Sri Lanka and South Africa. In India, SG balls are used for domestic and international matches. Meanwhile, England and West Indies prefer Dukes balls. Each ball behaves differently, as far as the swing and seam movement is concerned.
A Kookaburra ball is made of the finest raw material in Australia. It fetches swing for nearly 30 overs in a Test match. A Dukes ball boasts a dark colour and swings more as compared to other balls. Due to exceptional quality, It is sustained for a longer duration. Besides, an SG ball carries a wider seam, that suits the spinners more.
Saliva is usually applied on a cricket ball to garner reverse swing, when it gets old. Kookaburra and SG balls lose shine after a while, which rules out the possibility of conventional swing. One side of the ball has to be maintained for producing reverse swing, Paradoxically, Dukes balls won't get affected much with 'no saliva' rule as they are more durable.
A pink ball is used in the newly introduced Day-Night Test matches. It is believed that a pink ball carries 20 per cent more swing than a red ball. Since it ages at a slower pace, it leaves little margin for bowlers to make it reverse later on. However, in D/N Tests, the bowlers can also make use of due to shine the ball.
Although the ICC committee has allowed the use of body sweat, it will rely on the conditions. ICC Cricket Committee chairman Anil Kumble recently stated the recommendation to ban saliva is an interim measure and will be revoked, once the pandemic gets over.
Speaking about the issue, owner of Dukes ball, Dilip Jajodia, claimed the balls used in England won't be impacted even they are not shined. According to him, the rough side causes swing and maintains the integrity, while the shiny surface is less important. He also revealed the Dukes ball stays harder for long as it carries a stronger and hand-stitched seam.