Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma feels that the decision to ban the use of saliva on the ball is unfair on bowlers. According to Sharma, who is also the coach of the Delhi team, as the game is heavily loaded in favor of batters, bowlers deserve something going their way.
Announcing changes to cricket rules, which will come into effect from October 1, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) stated that the use of saliva, mints or sweets will be viewed as “any other unfair method of changing the condition of the ball”. The MCC statement read:
“The new laws will not permit the use of saliva on the ball, which also removes any grey areas of fielders eating sugary sweets to alter their saliva to apply to the ball.”
Reacting to the development, Sharma expressed disappointment. Sharing his thoughts on the Khelneeti podcast, he said:
“Bowlers should be given some liberty. There are so many dead tracks where there is nothing for bowlers – no spin or swing. We were playing a Ranji Trophy match in Guwahati and there was no assistance for the bowlers at all.”
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The 56-year-old added:
“If bowlers can apply some saliva and try to get it to reverse swing, that is also being stopped. It is not something unfair and there was no need to make such an issue. When you are allowing sweat, why not saliva? I don’t think saliva or mint makes a huge difference. Even if bowlers are getting a little advantage, it is only fair for them.”
The use of mint or similar substances on the ball has caused numerous controversies in the past, with cricketers even being banned for the same.
“Sometimes players come back chewing gums from breaks” – Saba Karim backs saliva ban
Former India keeper-batter Saba Karim shared a contrasting view on the saliva ban by the MCC. According to him, the correct decision has been made as too many controversies have erupted out of it. He elaborated:
“It is the right decision. We have seen a lot of times unnecessary controversy has been created. Sometimes players come back chewing gums from breaks and then apply saliva on the ball. It might not be intentional, but sometimes these things can become unavoidable. And by doing so, if the shape of the ball is being altered and bowlers are getting greater assistance, then it is against the rules of the game.”
Karim further pointed out:
“During the pandemic, saliva was banned. The technical committee analyzed that saliva does not provide any extra advantage, so it is not needed. You can use sweat for shining the ball.”
Apart from banning saliva, the MCC also decided to remove the stigma surrounding ‘Mankading’. It clarified that a batter being run-out at the non-striker’s end for leaving his/her crease too early is a legitimate form of dismissal.