Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar is indeed not the first to express concerns over the banning of saliva to shine the ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is amongst the bowlers for whom swing is the primary weapon to put the batsmen in discomfort. With little security for the moving ball in the post-COVID-19 world, the 30-year old fears it would dent the bowlers’ ability.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar relies on bringing the ball back into the right-hander while possessing immaculate control with the ball. One of the instances were seen when the Meerut pacer repeatedly troubled the Australian captain Aaron Finch in early 2019. Finch continuously battled reading the in-swinging deliveries, causing him to lose his stumps or being trapped LBW.
With the ICC ruling saliva out of equation temporarily to shine the ball, Bhuvneshwar Kumar feels that for bowlers like him, whose primary armour is swing instead of pace are in a fix. Hence, if the ball does not move, it is all going to be in batsmen’s favour.
“A bowler who can clock 145 kmph won’t be affected in any way because he is going to increase the pace of deliveries. But it does become a challenger for a bowler like me who relies on swing a lot. With no swing, it’s all going to be a batsman’s game,” the 30-year old Bhuvneshwar Kumar stated as quoted by Times of India.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar cites an instance of bowling in England:
The 30-year old went on to iterate the situation with an example of bowling in England, where conditions are usually favourable for swing bowling. However, with the cherry getting old and with no means to shine it, a bowler like him can lose half of their ability. Hence, Kumar hopes that ICC finds a way to allow some artificial substances into play.
“Let’s say you are playing in England and the conditions are conducive to swing bowling. But the ball gets old after a few overs and you cannot shine the ball. So a bowler like me will only have half of his ability. It will be a tricky condition hope ICC comes out with some artificial things using which we can shine the ball,” Kumar stated.
While the ICC hasn’t prohibited the cricketers from using sweat, the right-arm seamer believes sweat is an alternative only in warmer conditions. Bhuvneshwar Kumar cited sweat as a natural way to shine the ball; however, during colder conditions, perspiration wouldn’t linger on their body. That again becomes a question.
“Sweat could be a probable replacement for saliva in warmer conditions. If the ICC doesn’t allow the use of artificial substance, then sweat is the only natural way to shine the ball. However, in colder conditions, there won’t be any sweat so how are you going to shine the ball then. It’s going to be very challenging for the bowlers,” he added.