Don't sweat the saliva ban, ball-maker offers towel solution

General view of cricket ball.
General view of cricket ball.Reuters
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England's premier ball manufacturer has some advice for bowlers worried about being unable to generate swing due to a ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball: "Carry a cotton towel."

Polishing one side with sweat and saliva has been used by fast bowlers to alter the aerodynamics of the ball but the International Cricket Council banned the use of saliva this month to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Bowlers are still free to use sweat but some pacers are worried about not generating enough swing.

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Dilip Jajodia, managing director of British Cricket Balls Ltd, which produces the Dukes balls used in test matches in England, says they need not worry.

"The ball has to be right in the first place. Whether you apply saliva or perspiration or whatever, these are small things that help," Jajodia told Reuters by telephone.

"We have a proper ball with a hand-stitched seam. It's designed to swing as long as you have the skill.

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"And now that ICC has confirmed that you can use perspiration, I don't see any problem."

When a player vigorously rubs the Dukes ball against his clothes, it releases the wax in it to permeate through leather and shine the ball, said Jajodia.

His advice for English and West Indian bowlers in their upcoming series is to carry a cotton towel like Barbadian great Malcolm Marshall.

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"The great Malcolm Marshall was always seen with a little cotton towel hanging from his waist.

"And you see (England captain) Joe Root in a polyester shirt -- polishing and polishing the ball. He's wasting his time, it does not work.

"You should polish it on a natural material like cotton. Just perspiration and cotton.

"Carry a cotton towel, and you'd be fine."

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