Use of saliva can be allowed if players test negative before the match: Ajit Agarkar
Agarkar, who has played 191 ODIs and 26 Tests for India highlighted the importance of saliva and stressed that it is one of the key components for bowlers in their quest of swinging the ball.Updated: Jun 15, 2020 17:43 IST
Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar came up with a fresh viewpoint on the new ICC rule of saliva-ban during a Test match. Agreeing that under the current circumstances the ICC have done the right thing, Agarkar urged cricket’s parent body to consider conditional allowing of saliva-usage if the player test negative before the start of the match.
Agarkar, who has played 191 ODIs and 26 Tests for India highlighted the importance of saliva and stressed that it is one of the key components for bowlers in their quest of swinging the ball.
“My only contention is that players who will play, will eventually be tested before the game starts. If they are found to be COVID-19 negative then I can at least consider that it will be then safe to put saliva on the ball,” Agarkar told PTI during an interaction.
“This is my opinion and probably someone from the medical field can give us a broader view on the subject,” the 42-year-old added.
The former speedster however is aware that ICC’s Cricket and Medical committee, in prevailing circumstances, didn’t have an option but to go for the ban.
“It is very important to shine the ball and there are no two ways about it but it’s a difficult one for the committees (referring to ICC Cricket and Medical Committee) as well to straightway after resumption say, ‘ok you can use (saliva) it.
The ICC’s ban will be effective from the first international series between England and West Indies, starting July 8.
“Obviously, they have taken a safe approach and in current situation it is understandable. But we will have to wait and see once England series is underway. It’s not going to be easy for the bowlers. But we will have to wait,” said Agarkar, who has 349 international wickets in his kitty.
Agarkar said, a game that is already “loaded in favour of batsmen”, the ban on saliva will be a huge handicap for pacers and seamers.
“If you ask any bowler, everyone will be a bit apprehensive. In recent times, though the pitches have been quite helpful for bowlers which lends a little bit more balance but overall if you see, batsmen do dominate world cricket at the moment,” said India’s third highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket behind Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath.
“If you are taking away the saliva bit, which basically is as important as the bat as is to a batsman, it will certainly become tough for bowlers. But we will have to wait and see how it pans out in match situation,” said the man, who was once fastest to reach 50 wickets in ODI cricket.
Agarkar will be keenly watching the England-West Indies series which is set to be played in a ‘bio-secure’ environment.
“We will get an idea during the upcoming England series, as everyone is faced with a situation that no one has every experienced with this pandemic,” he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)