Team India's leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal opined that not using saliva on the ball could adversely affect the bowlers and could potentially make it a batsman's game. The coronavirus pandemic has put the global sport on hold and during this time, medical professionals have been working out the possibilities of a safe return for cricket. Multiple reports had emerged in the past that medical professionals were urging cricket boards to not allow bowlers to use saliva to shine the ball as it may spread the coronavirus. Now, there are significant new updates that may change the history of the sport.
Yuzvendra Chahal, according to an online portal, claimed that the non-use of saliva on the ball would impact the drift and swing of the delivery, hence making it easier for the batsman. Chahal jokingly added that if this rule was to be enforced, then another rule has to be brought in where the batsman would retrieve he ball by himself after hitting it for a six. Cricket bowlers, especially in Test cricket, depend heavily on using their saliva for shining the ball through its 80-over life span. This shine allows the bowlers to get lateral movement in the air and swing the ball. However, it was being reported that medical professionals were not too happy about these practices and have urged cricket boards to strictly stay away from them.
Saliva and sweat are components that cannot be entirely done away with, insist a few distinguished India cricketers, as the ICC contemplates legalising ball-tampering post-COVID-19 by using artificial substances to prevent virus spread. 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 beng open to the idea, wants to know where one can draw the line. While discussions are at nascent stage, questions are already being asked about what external substances could be used if ball-tampering becomes legal?
Former opener Chopra said that unless the ICC comes up with something concrete as to what are the external elements that can be used "it's all conjecture". "I always felt that allowing mint shouldn't be a problem. But now they have gone to the extent that they don't want to allow mint. But now if you change rule, ok let's allow them to use fingernails, vaseline, now where does it stop God knows," said Chopra, who is also a respected analyst. "Spinners won't mind as they do get a bit of drift if the ball is kept shiny from one side. So they won't actually mind as long as you are not landing the shiny surface of the ball," Chopra said.