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Saliva is must and vaseline is no replacement, feel Nehra, Harbhajan

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, April 25: Saliva and sweat are components that cannot be entirely done away with, insist a few distinguished India cricketers, as the ICC contemplates legalising ball tampering post COVID-19 by using artificial substances to prevent virus spread.

Former India pacer Ashish Nehra and spinner Harbhajan Singh feel that saliva�s use in shining the ball is a �must�. Ex-opener Aakash Chopra, while being open to the idea, wants to know where one can draw the line.

While discussions are at nascent stage, questions are already being asked about what external substances could be used if ball tampering becomes legal?

Is it going to be bottle cap in pocket to scuff up one side of the ball, vaseline to shine (made famous by John Lever) or chain zipper?

�Get one thing clear at the onset. The ball will not swing if you don�t apply sweat or saliva on the ball. That�s basic necessity of swing bowling. The moment ball gets scuffed up from one side, sweat and saliva must be applied on the other side,� Nehra, who completely shot down the idea of using external substances, told PTI.

He went on to explain why vaseline alone can�t help a pacer.

�Now let�s understand why do you need saliva? Sweat is heavier than saliva but both are heavy enough to make one side of the ball heavier for reverse swing. Vaseline comes into the picture only after sweat and saliva, not before that.

�It is lighter and doesn�t even ensure conventional swing. It can keep the shine but doesn�t make the ball heavy,� the World Cup-winning former pacer said.

Nehra then gave the example of Englishman Lever who created a furore during his team�s 1976 tour of India by applying vaseline during a Test match.

�I can bet Lever used sweat and saliva and then applied vaseline. Vaseline only helps the ball to skid and nothing more. You apply vaseline only, the ball will just go straight. You can check that with any fast bowler,� he said.

Harbhajan also agreed that saliva if one has already chewed mint, which has sugar in it, makes it heavier. But when it comes to using external substance, he wants to know what can be the options. � PTI

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