Unskilled bowlers will always find excuses: Laxman Sivaramakrishnan on saliva ban | Cricket News


NEW DELHI: The ICC’s decision to ban the use of saliva to shine the ball as a precautionary safety measure in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has triggered a huge debate among the cricketing fraternity. Many believe it will tilt the balance of the game even more towards the batsmen, while some say it will hardly matter as sweat will also be very effective when it comes to shining the ball.
Saliva is used by bowlers and fielders on a new ball, while sweat is used on the old ball when reverse swing comes into play.
Former India leg spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan thinks the world governing body’s decision is the need of the hour and skilled players will make the necessary adjustments and adaptations. The 54-year-old Sivaramakrishnan, who played 9 Tests and 16 ODIs for India between 1983 and 1987, spoke at length with Timesofindia.com on a variety of issues ranging from the saliva ban to the possibility of the IPL being staged this year and the future of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia this year.
Excerpts…
There is a lot of hue and cry after ICC’s decision to ban saliva. How is it going to impact players.? Do you really think it will favour the batsmen?
It is only for the fast bowlers that it might affect reverse swing. Even in reverse swing they can use the sweat and make one side of the ball heavy and try and see if the ball reverses. The game has been changing constantly and this is the one factor they had to take into consideration because of the pandemic. They had to take this precautionary measure because of the Covid-19 situation. But skilled bowlers will always find a way to get the wickets and unskilled bowlers will always find excuses. As far as spinners are concerned, there should not be much of a problem, when the ball is rough you get better grip of the ball. So I don’t think it will hamper the spinners too much.

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Whatever they talk about but the fact is that most of the Test matches finish in four days. So how can one describe it as a batsmen’s game? Only in one-day cricket where you get flat wickets and they get 300 or 350 and all that due to small boundaries and flat wickets. But in Test cricket you don’t see draws anymore, you rarely get to see matches go into Day 5, even if it goes into Day 5, there is a result. If the bowlers are able to get a side all out once or twice then how would it be in the batsman’s favour, I don’t know. It’s not right to give excuses, they have to take it as a challenge and stand up and perform.
Cricket is all set to make a return next month with England hosting West Indies in the Test series. Do you think it will be business as usual or do you foresee anything different?
We all have to wait and see because it will be the first series after Covid-19. And in English conditions, where (if) they can be quite fortunate they will have some good weather. Everybody is quite apprehensive what might happen and what might not happen but I don’t know what the apprehension is about. You have to go with an open mind and see what positives you can get out of the situation watching England and West Indies cricketers under those conditions. Good Test cricketers will always have the ability to adapt and adjust. Even for the saliva factor, I think the good and great players will make the necessary adjustments and adaptations. Without giving it a try, giving opinions I don’t think is the way to go.
A final decision is still awaited on the T20 World Cup this year. Can IPL 2020 be held in the same window if the World T20 is postponed to next year or can both events be held this year?
ICC has to decide about the T20 World Cup and it’s BCCI which has to decide about the IPL. BCCI is still waiting for the ICC to decide on what they are going to do. And the IPL, people talk about money and money, but it’s also not only money that the BCCI gets, players get, the respective countries’ cricket boards get. The young generation is being forgotten. We have seen a lot of talent that played IPL and T20 internationals for India. So I am quite keen for IPL to happen just for the sake of seeking some new talent. And also with the mind that we will have IPL in September or October and IPL again in April, May. We will prepare all the cricketers who take part in the IPL much better for the two T20 World Cups. IPL is the best conducted T20 league and it should happen in September-October and it should also happen again in April-May (2021).
You had emerged as the frontrunner for the BCCI’s chief selector’s post, but somehow things did not go your way. Is there a possibility of us seeing you in any role associated with Indian cricket in the future, apart from commentary?
Whatever the BCCI decides, it will be in the best interest of the game. Even though I did not get the selector’s job, I am still doing commentary and being attached to the game. So whatever the capacity BCCI wants me to use, I will be more than happy to do it. I am very open to doing spin coaching and commentary. I have served BCCI from 1981 when I first played for India U-19, so my association with BCCI is about 40 years. Whenever my services are required in any particular area, I am more than happy to do it.
Your take on Virat Kohli as a captain. Your take on the comparison between him and MS Dhoni…
Virat Kohli is a very proactive and instinctive captain. It gives him a lot of energy and he is still getting better and better. Best part about Kohli as captain, he leads from the front, not only scoring runs with the bat, but also the energy that he possesses. Probably Jadeja and Kohli are the two best fielders in the Indian team. So he sets an example on the field. I quite like the way Virat is going about his job and he is getting better.

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Both are different captains (Kohli and Dhoni), Virat is more of an aggressive and expressive kind of captain and MS is quite laid back and you can hardly read from his facial expression and what his body is speaking about. But MS Dhoni is more of a bowlers’ captain which is a big advantage for any bowler. Virat Kohli on the other hand is a livewire with his energy because he always has some ideas for bowlers. The approach is important but what is more important is the result. Virat Kohli doesn’t mind losing games because he plays to win. That’s what Australia did in the 90s and 2000s, that’s why they were so successful. You just want to go, try and win a game and in the process if you lose it’s part and parcel of the game.
What has been your most memorable cricketing moment as a player?
Winning the World Championship in Australia. We played five matches and won all five. And Gavaskar’s captaincy, it was his last series as captain. I think the World Championship for cricket in Australia would be my most memorable moment. But the best match, if you ask me, I played one in Sharjah where India got bowled out for 125 and then we got Pakistan out for 87.
When do you expect cricket to resume in India?
I only look at September through the IPL, or maybe you start with the Challengers tournament. R Sridhar, fielding coach, made a statement that the boys will need six weeks to get in shape. My opinion is you can start with Challengers which has only four games and then start the IPL.



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