Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 May 2020

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin needs practice to break ball-shining habit

Use of saliva to shine ball faces ban when cricket resumes

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin says applying saliva to shine the ball is a habit that won't be easy to break. Reuters
India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin says applying saliva to shine the ball is a habit that won't be easy to break. Reuters

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said he will need practice to break the habit of applying saliva to shine the ball with the age-old technique facing a ban when cricket resumes after the coronavirus lockdown.

The International Cricket Council's (ICC) cricket committee has said players can still use sweat to help shine the ball but recommended a ban on the use of spit fearing it could lead to the spread of Covid-19.

"For me as a bowler, putting saliva on the ball comes naturally, and it will take practice to avoid that," Ashwin said in an Instagram live session for Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Capitals.

Cricketers have long used saliva and sweat to shine one side of the ball, altering the aerodynamics in an attempt to generate movement in the air.

Australia pace bowler Josh Hazlewood said on Wednesday the proposed ban on using saliva to shine the ball will be difficult to implement.

The health crisis has also changed the way players celebrate. Players had already started to replace handshakes and high-fives with fist and elbow bumps when Covid-19 disrupted cricket in March.

Test specialist Ashwin said the new celebrations could be a throwback to the past.

"In the 1970s-80s, wicket celebrations meant fielders standing in their respective positions and clapping," said the 33-year-old.

"Things like high-fives and fist bumps are more recent. So when we all step out to play again, it may take time to get used to certain things, but we'll need to adapt."

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Updated: May 21, 2020 03:47 PM

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