No saliva, no sweat, says India pace bowler Shami

NEW DELHI (AFP) – India fast bowler Mohammed Shami said he will be able to reverse-swing the ball even if saliva is banned during the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is expected to next week order a temporary ban on using saliva, as part of measures to get the sport started again while reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

Bowlers traditionally get the ball to move in the air, deceiving the batsman, by shining one side using sweat or saliva.

“There will be difficulties. We have been accustomed to using saliva since childhood,” Shami said in an online discussion.

“If you are a fast bowler, instinctively you apply saliva to shine the ball. But yes, if you can maintain the shine of the dry ball, it will definitely reverse.” The 29-year-old, renowned for his reverse swing, offered no alternative but insisted that sweat is not a viable replacement.

“Sweat and saliva work differently. I don’t think it will help. I never tried bowling without saliva,” he said. “Now because of COVID-19 pandemic, it’s very important to stop using saliva.”