Former Indian fast bowler, Ajit Agarkar understands that saliva-ban is a “safe option”, but it feels that rules need to be flexible if players test negative before the start of any series. Underlining the importance of saliva in the game, Agarkar said saliva is as important for bowlers as a bat for a batsman. The ICC’s ban will be see in effect from the Test series between England and West Indies, starting July 8.
During an interaction with PTI, Agarkar said, “My only contention is that players who will play, will eventually be tested before the game starts. If they are found to be COVID-19 negative then I can at least consider that it will be then safe to put saliva on the ball. This is my opinion and probably someone from the medical field can give us a broader view on the subject.”
The former speedster however is aware that ICC’s Cricket and Medical committee, in prevailing circumstances, didn’t have an option but to go for the ban.
Agarkar explained, “It is very important to shine the ball and there are no two ways about it but it’s a difficult one for the committees (referring to ICC Cricket and Medical Committee) as well to straightway after resumption say, ‘ok you can use (saliva) it. Obviously, they have taken a safe approach and in current situation it is understandable. But we will have to wait and see once the England series is underway. It’s not going to be easy for the bowlers.”
Former Indian pacer said, a game that is already “loaded in favor of batsmen”, the ban on saliva will be a huge handicap for pacers and seamers.
Ajit Agarkar further elaborated, “If you ask any bowler, everyone will be a bit apprehensive. In recent times, though the pitches have been quite helpful for bowlers which lends a little bit more balance but overall if you see, batsmen do dominate world cricket at the moment. If you are taking away the saliva bit, which basically is as important as the bat as is to a batsman, it will certainly become tough for bowlers. But we will have to wait and see how it pans out in match situation.”
In his career, Agarkar played 191 ODIs and 26 Tests, will be keenly watching the England-West Indies series which is set to be played in a ‘bio-secure’ environment.