With the debate ‘should there be a saliva ban’ in cricket post COVID-19 taking centre stage, former India cricketer Irfan Pathan has weighed in and said that if that happens, it id alright, but he also urged that bowler-friendly pitches should be prepared. He also felt that not allowing pacers to use saliva to polish the ball takes the advantage away from them.

“You will to have make sure that pitches are more suitable to the bowlers than batsmen to negate the advantage (of not being able use saliva). If you are not able to shine the ball properly, you will not be able to cut the air because of scientific reasons,” Pathan told PTI.

“And if you are not able to swing it, the batsman will have it easy because nobody fears just pace, it is the combination of pace and swing that troubles them.”

Pathan, who claimed 301 international wickets for India feels the void of using saliva will be felt more in Test cricket, where bowlers begin to keep one side of the ball shiny from the very beginning of the innings to ensure reverse swing is generated when the ball becomes old.

“It (ban) will affect bowlers a lot in Test matches. It won’t be an issue in white-ball cricket as the bowlers anyway don’t shine the ball after the first few overs, they want to make it soft (to make strokeplay tougher for the batsman),” Pathan explained.

“But in red-ball cricket, whether you are a fast bowler or spinner, you need to shine the ball. Spinner relies on shine to drift the ball. That will be a big advantage for batsman. The game will become even more batsmen friendly,” he concluded.