Dilip Jajodia, the owner of the Dukes company which manufactures many of the balls used in professional cricket, has insisted that the ban on the use of saliva to shine balls should be no problem for bowlers.
As professional cricket looks to resume in the shadow of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the sport has to adjust to some new regulations.
Many of the new concepts are intended to protect the health of players, but they may also alter the game and affect the delicate balance between batsman and bowler.
The swinging ball is one of the main weapons used by pace bowlers in cricket, especially in England, and bowlers rely on being able to shine one side of the ball to achieve swing.
Temporary ban on saliva shining likely
But reports indicate that when cricket resumes a temporary ban will be placed on players shining the ball using saliva.
England swing bowler Chris Woakes has accepted that bowlers will need to find an alternative way of shining the ball this summer.
“From a bowler’s point of view we’ve just got to find a way to shine it for harder and longer to find a way of getting some shine on the ball,” he said last week, according to The Guardian.
“Thankfully it’s a Dukes ball and not a Kookaburra this summer, because then we would be struggling. I’m sure we will find a way of getting some shine and making sure it does move off the straight.”
Kookaburra, the company which manufactures the balls used in Australia, has responded to the issue by developing a wax applicator.
But Dilip Jajodia, the owner of Dukes, believes that bowlers should not be too worried when using his company’s balls.
“Woakes is absolutely correct, I don’t see swing being a big problem in England,” he said. “But it’s not just the shiny surface or the rough side that causes swing, it’s the integrity of the ball.
“You don’t have to worry because with a ball constructed like ours you’ve got a good shape, a strong seam that acts as a rudder through the air and, because it is hand-stitched, it stays harder for longer.”
Cotton on leather is best for a shine
Jajodia also maintains that to get as much shine as possible on the ball players should use a cotton towel.
Most cricket kit is made from polyester these days, and Jajodia insists that a natural substance like cotton is best for shining another natural substance like the leather of a cricket ball.
The Dukes owner does have come concerns about the future of his company should amateur cricket not resume next year. Dukes might well need a subsidy from somewhere, should that happen.
He said that Dukes would “up the Khyber Pass” if amateur cricket is still prohibited next year. But he also maintains that the company has a strong balance sheet, no borrowing and a historic reputation to help it weather the Covid 19 storm.