Shami opens up on bowling without saliva use in COVID era

The International Cricket Council will ban the use of saliva to shine the ball as action resumes. The move aimed at containing the possible spread of novel coronavirus from an infected player to others has raised grave concerns for fast bowlers, who it is feared will not be able to swing the ball. Cricket opine experts will not be same anymore and balance will further tilt toward the batsmen.

But Indian speedster Mohammed Shami has allayed those fears, at least for himself. In an Instagram chat with sports journalist Rohit Juglan, the team India speedster said that he can still reverse swing the ball even if the use of saliva is banned.

“There will be difficulties. We have been accustomed to using saliva since childhood. It’s been deeply ingrained… 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,” Shami told Juglan.

ICC Cricket Committee, headed by Anil Kumble, though has recommended that the bowlers can use sweat to maintain the shine of the ball, Shami opined that is not going to help his fraternity.

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


Shami during the nearly hour-long chat candidly opened up on a number of issues, including the long absence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The teammates still wait for the former India captain’s return, Shami revealed.

“I have played in all the formats under Dhoni’s captaincy. IPL is only exception. He will always treated his teammates in such a way that you won’t even feel that he is M S Dhoni. He is such a big player. I have a lot of memories about him.

“He likes to sit with everyone and have dinner. There are always several people with him. We chat till late night, and these are the things that one miss.”

On the issue of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, Shami felt the need of playing international cricket before that. “We are not machines, can’t just switch on and off. As a sportsman, your body needs to get into rhythm. No one has touched bat and ball in this period. So a 10-15 days camp or a couple of series before the World Cup will be helpful to get back the momentum.”

Team India fielding coach on Tuesday had revealed four stages of training for making the Team India players match fit and match ready.

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