New Delhi, Jun 4 : The former India captain and ICC Cricket Committee chairman Anil Kumble has backed the panel's decision to disallow use of artificial substances on the ball despite the saliva ban, saying that cricket should utilise pitches to even up the contest between bat and ball. The Committee had recently recommended a ban on use of saliva on the ball to deal with the rising threat of coronavirus but did not allow use of artificial substances despite a discussion over it. The move led to calls of an alternative to saliva from many former and present cricketers.
"The advantage that cricket has over other sports is that there is an element of adjustable variance in the pitch, which not many sports have," Kumble said during a webinar, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on Wednesday. "You could manage the pitch in such a way that you could bring about a better balance between bat and ball," he added. Kumble said that the decision to ban saliva was taken after appropriate deliberation.
"Based on medical advice, we believe that saliva could be the major contributor to carrying this disease and that's why we banned the use of saliva, although it's second nature in cricket," the 49-year-old said. According to Kumble, the pandemic offered another opportunity to "bring spinners" back into Test cricket. Outside the Indian subcontinent, especially in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand or Australia) countries, the norm has been to include just one spinner on pitches favouring seam bowling. "You can probably leave grass on the surface or even rough it up and have two spinners, Let's get spinners back in the game in a Test match. Because if it's a one-day or T20 game, you're not worried about the ball or shining of the ball. Sweat can certainly take care of that, ' Kumble said. The spin legend, however, admitted that it would be hard for players to adjust to not using saliva.
“Although it is second nature in cricket, and that’s something that players will find it hard to manage. And that’s why I believe that at training, they’d like to start slowly because it’s not just about coming back and playing cricket in a match,” he said. “It’s also about coming back from two and a half months of being locked up… And especially if you’re a bowler, you need to have those bowling overs under your belt before you start competing. “So, it’s important that you slowly and gradually come back into the sort of normalcy that you can and the advantage that cricket has over other sports is that there’s an element of adjustable variance in the pitch, which not many sports have,” he added. (UNI)