Jasprit Bumrah, Indian pace spearhead said the ban on saliva since Covid-19 turned out to be a major handicap for the bowlers since the sweat was not effective to shine the ball after England called the shots on the opening day of the series-opener at Chennai.
Skipper Joe Root’s unbeaten century in his 100th Test took England to 263 for three on 1st day on a lifeless Chepauk track where the red SG Test lost its hardness after 40th over.
Jasprit Bumrah: It Becomes Difficult When Ball Becomes Soft And Doesn’t Shine Well
On the 2nd day, Joe Root is batting on 175 and England are 400/4 in the 132nd over as Ben Stokes was the only wicket to fall on 82.
“The ball did become soft after a while and the wicket is on flatter side with the bounce being less. You are left with limited options (to shine ball). We are trying to figure out what we can do with the limited things in hand, at that time,” Jasprit Bumrah said at the virtual media conference.
India’s most successful bowler on the day admitted that the bowlers found it difficult to maintain the ball as ICC has banned the use of saliva in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.
“It becomes difficult when the ball becomes soft and doesn’t shine really well because of new COVID-19 rules, we can’t use saliva, very difficult during that time to maintain the ball,” Jasprit Bumrah added.
He also explained that sweat, which is lighter than saliva, is not at all a good option to prepare the ball for reverse swing as one side must be shined to make the ball heavy.
“In India, the ball gets scuffed up easily. So to make the ball heavy, you have to shine one side sometimes, with sweat and it doesn’t really serve the purpose. You can’t make one side heavy with sweat and it doesn’t really work that way. But these are the rules and we have to make do with what we have at the moment,” Jasprit Bumrah further stated.
Jasprit Bumrah lamented that the Chepauk wicket is certainly not bowling friendly. He is playing his first Test at home after 18 appearances away.
“This is my first match over here. The wicket was on the flatter side, not lot of lateral movement was there. It was abrasive but we are not trying to complaint how the wicket is but trying to figure out what the solutions are. We are trying to look at options that are there in our hand and create as many chances as we can,” he said.
After the outbreak of the coronavirus, saliva has been banned for shining the ball because the natural substance is the major carrier of the infectious virus. Many of the experts had disagreed with the decision because it would allow the batsman to dominate easily. The shinning of the ball help the pacers to swing the ball while it helps spinners to drift the ball.
Jasprit Bumrah Admits It Didn’t Spin In 1st Day
Jasprit Bumrah feels that a lot of things can be said in hindsight as questions are being raised about the Indian team management for not including an attacking option like left arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav on a flat deck.
“There could be a lot of ifs and buts but we back every individual in this team. In hindsight, you can say this or that after the game but there is still a job to be done, we are focusing on backing our players. Later on after the game we can discuss about it.”
Jasprit Bumrah felt that during the final session for a brief period, the shoulders were drooping a bit which can always happen after a long partnership.
“We were okay in the first two sessions but in the beginning of the last session, we were a bit here and there, because when you have a lot of incentives and you get a lot of wickets, body language is automatically up. But yeah sometimes, in this heat, it’s difficult to keep the body language up. I think we were okay and putting in a lot of effort,” he said.
He praised Joe Root and said that key to him playing well was “reading the trajectory well and staying low” while facing the spinners. Jasprit Bumrah also didn’t want to predict how the pitch will shape in the next few days unless both teams completed an innings each.
“It didn’t spin a lot today. It’s difficult to assess till both teams have bowled once then we can assess how the wicket could change up. Tomorrow, our main focus is to create more chances and more pressure and take it session by session.”
Kuldeep Yadav, a ‘match-winner’, could have played alongside off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and all-rounder Washington Sundar in the 1st Test against England but India went for Shahbaz Nadeem instead. Having a left-arm wrist-spinner could have added a different dimension to India’s spin attack.