Ball upkeep issues concern pacers

Sports Correspondent

15 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Ball upkeep issues concern pacers

Bangladesh National Cricket Team pace bowlers feel that maintaining the ball will be the biggest challenge in the post-corona era as they got a hint of how things are going to change watching the opening Test between England and West Indies recently.

After waiting for 117 days, international cricket resumed overcoming all the adversities posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

International Cricket Council (ICC) made some interim changes to its playing regulations in recent past which included a ban on the use of saliva to keep the shine of the ball. The ban was implemented for the first time during the series opener.

According to the ICC, the umpires will be initially lenient for the players to get accustomed to the new rules. However, subsequent misdemeanours will result in a warning for the team. In addition, the accidental use of saliva will be followed by the protocol of the umpires cleaning and sanitising the ball before the resumption of play.

Bangladeshi pacers’ eyes were glued to the TV set during the Test series opener to see how both teams adapt to the new normal in cricket.

“I think maintaining the ball will be key in the coming days because the ball is not keeping it’s shine due to the ban on the use of saliva,” Test specialist Ebadat Hossain told daily sun on Tuesday.

“I wanted to see James Anderson bowl to understand how he tries to swing the ball without the shine. I saw both the teams trying to shine the bowl with sweat. But compared to what I had seen in previous England matches, the ball was not shining as it used to. The ball was shown for couple of times through close up during the course of the game,” he said adding that Shannon Gabriel used the crease well and that can be one way to go about it in the new cricketing atmosphere.

“Gabriel had beaten everyone with his pace and passion. As far as I understand with my little knowledge, Gabriel used the crease with pace. Sometimes he bowled close to the stumps, sometimes wide to the crease,” said Ebadat.

Ebadat added that they are not sure whether Kookaburra balls will behave the same way as Dukes ball which was used in Southampton considering Kookaburra tends to be different from Dukes.

“They were playing with Duke and Duke balls normally have very good seam and shine. But there are many differences between Kookaburra ball and the Dukes ball. With sweat they couldn't move Dukes, God knows how Kookaburra will react. I don't know about the rest, maybe I will understand when I will play or practice,” he said.

“We have been using saliva. But now if I can’t use it, another thing to look at is how effective the sweat is for the reverse, maybe I will understand when I will practice,” he said. Pacer Shafiul Islam echoed the same sentiment.

“I did not notice much change. I saw what the bowlers were doing. Holder did well. I saw that he used the seam very well. They used sweat to shine the bowl, tried to maintain the bowl. The game was played with Duke bowl. I think their seam usage has been good. Holder hit the seam consistently. I think it worked well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rubel Hossain said that only after returning to the field, they can say for sure what will work for them.

“When we play among ourselves, we will have a good idea whether it (saliva ban) is an advantage or a disadvantage for the bowlers,” said Rubel.

“Basically, skill is everything. A lot depends on your skill. The better one’s skill, the faster one will adapt and do better,” he concluded.