Aakash Chopra Opens Up On Saliva Ban And No Ban On Bouncer Rules Imposed By MCC

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra, the former Indian opener and cricket expert has provided his opinion on the saliva ban imposed by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). Aakash Chopra believes the decision deserves praise but feels it will affect pace bowlers who utilize reverse swing as well.

For a long time, saliva has been used to shine the ball and help bowlers swing it. However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the saliva ban was imposed temporarily. MCC have realized that the ball still swings with no use of saliva and have now made the ban permanent.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Agrees With Permanent Saliva Ban Which Was Imposed Due To Covid-19 As It’s Unhygienic

Speaking on his YouTube channel, the reputed commentator Aakash Chopra explained how unhygienic using saliva was and why he agreed with the MCC’s decision to ban its use.

“Saliva ban was imposed due to COVID. The committee feels that there hasn’t been any significant damage to the swing as the ball still swings a fair amount. So let’s continue playing with that. I am okay with it because it is unhygienic.”

Using saliva to shine a ball is now banned. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Using saliva to shine a ball is now banned. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

However, Aakash Chopra also stressed the disadvantages of not using saliva to shine the ball, the major one being reverse swing. He feels the use of foreign material like wax to shine the ball is something that the MCC can think about. Polishing the ball with sweat will still be permitted.

Aakash Chopra added: “However, this will definitely have an effect on the reverse swing. So the second new ball can be made due a bit early. Or to shine the ball you can make use of a material like wax just to balance the contest, especially in dry conditions.”

MCC’s research found that this had little or no impact on the amount of swing the bowlers were getting. The new Laws will not permit the use of saliva on the ball, which also removes any grey areas of fielders eating sugary sweets to alter their saliva.

Aakash Chopra Admits There’s Risk As ICC Made No Changes To The Bouncer Rule

There was a lot of debate about whether bouncers should be a part of cricket, especially after the tragic death of late Australian opener Phillip Hughes. However, Aakash Chopra believes bouncers are an important aspect of cricket and the MCC made the right decision by not making any amendments in that regard.

On November 27, 2014, emerging Australian batsman Phillip Hughes passed away aged only 25. He was felled by a bouncer during an Australian domestic game two days earlier. He lost consciousness immediately and was placed in an induced coma despite wearing a helmet as the ball struck an unprotected area just below his left ear.

“We all are shaken after the event of Phil Hughes. But ICC have made no changes to the bouncer rule. It is an important part of our game. Of course there is danger but there is some amount of risk in any contact sport.”

Phillip Hughes falls to the ground after being struck in the head by a delivery during day one of the Sheffield Shield at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Phillip Hughes falls to the ground after being struck in the head by a delivery during day one of the Sheffield Shield at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Mark Metcalfe

Aakash Chopra feels the on-field umpires can take a call on whether there is too much use of the bouncer and if they feel the batter is not safe. The ICC currently allows up to two bouncers at head height in a solitary over. Any delivery rising over the batter’s head is declared a no-ball. Increasing cases of concussions and helmet strikes prompted the Marylebone Cricket Club to conduct an investigation.

He added: “The on-field umpire can step in and have the authority to stop the bowler from bowling bouncers if they feel the batter’s health is in danger, and I think that is the right thing to do.”

All the rule changes made by the MCC will come into effect from October 1, 2022.

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