Misbah Proposes Mask For Bowlers to Ensure They Don’t Use Saliva ‘Instinctively’
File image of Misbah-ul-Haq©Pakistan Cricket Twitter

Pakistan head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq, has said that pacers will find it extremely difficult to adapt to ICC’s new guidelines for the resumption of cricket and proposed a mask for the bowlers to ensure they don’t end up applying saliva on the ball “instinctively”.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has recommended a host of “back to cricket” guidelines which includes 14-day pre-match isolation training camps to ensure the teams are free from COVID-19.

The ICC Cricket Committee, led by Anil Kumble, has also recommended a ban on using saliva on the ball as an interim measure the combat COVID-19 threat.

“It is not going to be easy at all (bowling without applying saliva). This is habit players have developed since the start of their cricket. Even if a player keeps in mind the new restrictions somewhere he might act instinctively, Misbah said in an interview to YouTube Cricket Channel ‘Cricket Baaz’.

“We might have to do something to prevent this. Like making bowlers wear a mask or some other restrictive protection so that they don’t use saliva instinctively,” he added.

Other guidelines include regular hand sanitizing when in contact with the ball, no loo or shower breaks while training, minimising time spent in the changing room before and after a game and no handing over of personal items (cap, sunglasses, towels) to fellow teammates or the on-field umpires.

Misbah said it will take time for players to get used to the new playing conditions. “It is like when you keep on driving a car your reactions become automated.

The 45-year-old also admitted that the new rules could affect the performance of the bowlers.

Misbah is working on setting up a training camp for the Pakistani players as they prepare to tour England from July and play three Tests and three T20 Internationals after a proper quarantine period.

“Our bowlers could find it difficult in English conditions. Because they regularly use saliva to shine one side of the ball to get it to swing more. You can shine the ball through other legal methods but using saliva ensures one side of the ball has weight and this is very helpful to the pace bowlers,” Misbah added.

He, however, said the good thing is that the new guidelines apply to both teams and in England the weather also plays a part in deciding the movement of the ball.

But the former captain backed the guidelines recommended by the ICC Cricket Committee.

“Whether we like it or not cricket is not going to be the same again until that time some cure is found to this Coronavirus. So we need to get back to playing cricket but slowly and carefully. The players also need to realise it is not going to be easy for them in changed conditions.”