Bowlers handicapped due to saliva ban, alternate needed: Tendulkar
Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar believes the saliva ban has impacted the performances of fast bowlers to an extent. He stated that the bowlers have been "handicapped" with the COVID-enforced restrictions. Earlier this year, the ICC banned the use of saliva on cricket ball as a preventive measure. Speaking on the same, the 47-year-old stated there should be a reliable substitute.
'Saliva is more important than sweat', explains Tendulkar
Tendulkar highlights the importance of saliva. "With the saliva ban, bowlers are handicapped if you do not have a substitute for saliva. Today, we do not have any substitute for saliva. Cricket was always like it, sweat and saliva were always there. I would say saliva is more important than sweat, so it is almost as good as 60 per cent," he said.
ICC had banned the use of saliva in June
In June, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed interim changes to its playing regulations, proposed by the Anil Kumble-led ICC Cricket Committee. The changes included the ban on saliva usage to shine the ball. However, the use of body sweat was allowed.
The importance of saliva usage in cricket
In the longer formats, maintaining the ball becomes necessary as the match progresses. Shining one side of the ball vigorously helps in producing reverse swing eventually. Paradoxically, the other side needs to be completely rough. In order to shine it, the fielding side regularly applies either saliva or sweat. However, the ICC eradicated saliva usage to safeguard the health of players.
Tendulkar calls for an alternative
Tendulkar feels the bowlers should be provided with an alternative, for maintaining fair-play. "If I have to balance it out, bowlers would be 60 percent depended on saliva and 40 percent on sweat. That is being taken away from them, to me, bowlers are handicapped without a doubt. There should have been an alternative," he added.
Will the rule impact the Indians Down Under?
So far, the rule hasn't disrupted the rhythm of bowlers in Test cricket. In the English summer, the fast bowlers were able to produce decent movement, more so, due to seaming conditions. Similar conditions also helped the seamers in the recent Test series involving NZ and WI. Now, it will be interesting to see how the Indian pacers acclimatize with the rule in Australia.