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Just a week ago, International Cricket Council (ICC) had recommended a host of “back to cricket” guidelines including 14-day pre-match isolation training camps to ensure that teams are free and safe from the coronavirus pandemic. The apex cricket body issued training and playing guidelines which will totally transform the way the gentleman’s game is played.
Besides, among the significant guidelines are regular hand sanitising when it comes to contact with the ball, no loo or shower breaks while training is going on, minimising the amount of time changing room before and after the game, strictly no use of saliva on the ball and also no handing over of personal items like caps, sunglasses, towels to teammates or even the on-field umpires.
In a game, it is quite common that players apply saliva in a bid to polish the cricket ball, but due to this Covid-19 pandemic, ICC had to come up with a new set of guidelines and thus to call for a ban on the use of saliva. This particular guideline has put the bowlers on the back foot as they were robbed a clear chance to maintain the ball so much so that it can swing or offer reverse swing once the ball gets old as the game progresses.
Bowlers will go away from the game if they don’t use saliva: Ajit Agarkar
Meanwhile, the former Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar reckons that the job of polishing the ball is performed not just by the bowlers. Ajit Agarkar also feels the ICC’s guideline has robbed the fast bowlers by taking away one of the primary advantages.
“What happens to fielders around who are habituated to spitting into their hands or using their fingers to apply saliva on the ball. It’s such a common habit. You’ve to make all fielders wear a mask. I mean, it’s the slip fielders or players at mid-on and mid-off who shine the ball mostly. So, it’s going to take an effort from everyone to get used to this new rule. By stopping bowlers from applying saliva on the ball, you’re taking away one of the main things that the bowlers have going for them,” Agarkar was quoted as saying by TOI.
Bowling with masks uncomfortable: Ajit Agarkar
The former Indian pacer also questioned the very concept of wearing a mask while engaging in a sport.
“You have to check with a doctor whether it would be safe to run in and bowl with the mask. I’m sure that medically, this theory would be out of water. A mask wouldn’t be good for your lungs in that case. From a layman’s point of view, I can’t imagine running in and bowling with a mask. If you’ve to bowl 20 overs in a day, you can’t wear a mask and bowl 120 balls!” Ajit Agarkar said.
Earlier, former cricketers Aakash Chopra, Irfan Pathan and Monty Panesar echoed that some of the ICC guidelines on the resumption of cricket are impractical and that it will need a review when the game is closer to action.