Rahul Dravid. (TOI Photo)
CHENNAI: Much like any other sporting discipline, the covid-19 pandemic has altered the way cricket will be played in the foreseeable future.
From only home umpires officiating in matches to covid-19 substitutions, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has rung in changes to mitigate the risks posed by the coronavirus.
But the most discussed decision has been the ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball. Pakistan pace ace Wasim Akram warned that ICC’s move could make the bowlers robots, but former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid feels that the changes should be gauged only after they come into effect in the England-West Indies Test series starting next month.
“I think the England-West Indies series is going to be learning for a lot of people. It will give us an idea of how things work. Apparently, sweat is better than saliva because you can’t transfer the disease by using it,” said Dravid on Sony Ten Pit Stop.
The likes of former South African all-rounder Lance Klusener have called for substances such as wax to be used — in limited quality — to shine the ball, but Dravid doesn’t seem to be in favour of them. “I am not sure if any foreign substance will be allowed on the ball at the moment. If sweat is able to do a good job with shining the ball and using your trousers to create a bit of gloss on the ball then we might not need anything else at all,” Dravid said.
However, Dravid strongly feels that players will miss the crowd buzz while playing in empty stadiums. “International cricket in empty stadiums will be weird. Players are professionals and they will deal with it by delivering top-class performances, but they will miss the interaction with the crowd. The buzz of the crowd and the energy that they create will be missing,” said Dravid.
The Australia-India Test series may be over 6 months away but the talk surrounding that has already begun. Dravid feels with David Warner and Steve Smith back in the Australian ranks, the visitors may find the going tough.
“Australia are back to their full strength with Smith and Warner adding depth to their batting. These two make a huge impact and it will be a stiffer challenge for India this time around,” he said.