Take out saliva but ensure more bowler-friendly pitches are prepared: Irfan Pathan
Pathan says the saliva ban will effect the bowlers more in Test matches.Updated: May 24, 2020 20:21 IST
Former India fast bowler Irfan Pathan has urged the ICC to focus on producing more bowling-friendly surfaces now that the practice of using saliva to shine the ball is to be shelved. Pathan, one of the finest swing bowlers produced by India called saliva ban a “major handicap for pacers” and reckons good, lively pitches are the only way through which fast bowlers can stay relevant in the game.
“You will to have make sure that pitches are more suitable to the bowlers than batsmen to negate the advantage (of not being able use saliva). If you are not able to shine the ball properly, you will not be able to cut the air because of scientific reasons,” Pathan told PTI.
“And if you are not able to swing it, the batsman will have it easy because nobody fears just pace, it is the combination of pace and swing that troubles them.”
Pathan, who claimed 301 international wickets for India feels the void of using saliva will be felt more in Test cricket, where bowlers begin to keep one side of the ball shiny from the very beginning of the innings to ensure reverse swing is generated when the ball becomes old.
“It (ban) will affect bowlers a lot in Test matches. It won’t be an issue in white-ball cricket as the bowlers anyway don’t shine the ball after the first few overs, they want to make it soft (to make strokeplay tougher for the batsman),” Pathan explained.
“But in red-ball cricket, whether you are a fast bowler or spinner, you need to shine the ball. Spinner relies on shine to drift the ball. That will be a big advantage for batsman. The game will become even more batsmen friendly.”
As far as pitches are prepared, Pathan cautioned that producing a green surface may not be enough. Besides grass of the deck, the former left-arm quick batted for pitches that comprise a bit of moisture, such as those in England and Australia.
“If you look at England and Australia, there is not much grass but there is moisture and it helps bowlers,” he expressed. “You need to make sure that something happens for the bowler. If not through the ball, then through the conditions. If the conditions are helpful for bowlers they don’t look for reverse swing, they go for conventional swing.
“For reverse swing, if you can’t hide the ball, then the batsman knows which way the ball would come unless you are bowling 150 kmph plus and there are very few bowlers currently who generate that kind of pace. You can still apply some sweat and swing the ball normally but the ban would more or less take reverse swing out of the game.”