Bumrah social distancing

Photo: ICC Media Zone

I was not much of a hugger anyway – Bumrah unfazed by social distancing

Jasprit Bumrah said cricket should seek an “alternative” for shining the ball if the game’s governing body ban the use of saliva.

Bumrah social distancing

Photo: ICC Media Zone

India fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah doesn’t mind passing on cricket’s standard high-fives, hugs and handshakes as the sport plots a way back.

Cricket South Africa are hopeful of hosting India in August for a T20I series, likely played behind closed doors and outside of the country’s so-called ‘hotspots’.

Bumrah unfazed by social distancing

Any cricket that does resume in the coming months will have to do so under slightly altered [playing conditions, while adhering to strict hygiene and social distancing protocols.

Generally cricket sees very little close contact between players with the most frequent cause for a ‘mass gathering’ being the fall of a wicket.

Bumrah isn’t too bothered about missing out on the warm embrace of his teammates, though.

“I was not much of a hugger anyway, and not a high-five person as well, so that doesn’t trouble me a lot,” Bumrah said in an ICC video with the former West Indies pace bowler Ian Bishop and the ex-captain of South Africa, Shaun Pollock.

Saliva ban bothers Bumrah

Bowlers have shown great concern that the new protocols will prohibit the use of saliva to shine the cricket ball. The powers that be will still allow players to use their sweat on the ball. The construction of the cricket ball makes it hard to sterilize without compromising its integrity.

There has been some suggestion that players might be given a small amount of polishing wax to apply to the ball to aid movement through the air.

Bumrah suggested that alternatives to saliva needed to be looked at before play returned.

“I don’t know what guidelines that we have to follow when we come back, but I feel there should be an alternative,” Bumrah said. 

“If the ball is not well maintained, it’s difficult for the bowlers. The grounds are getting shorter and shorter, the wickets are becoming flatter and flatter. So we need something.”

Wax on, wax off

Cricket ball manufacturer Kookaburra are developing a wax applicator that allows players to shine the ball without using saliva or sweat.

But the use of the Australian company’s product would require a change in the laws of cricket which forbid the use of any artificial substance to alter the ball.

There are in essence two ways to tamper with the ball according to the rulebook that is to either damage or scuff one side of the ball with a fingernail, zipper or another hard or rough surface (Sandpaper is most definitely against the rules). The other type of tampering is an attempt to preserve one side of the ball by applying an artificial substance, like sugary sweets mixed with saliva. 

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Many of these tampering methods have not been shown to have a demonstrable effect on how much the ball moves through the air. The wax may be much more effective than saliva, and trials would be needed before it would be approved for use in internationals.