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IPL 2020

IPL 2020: Bowlers will have to be mindful of not using saliva: Zaheer Khan

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on September 10, 2020
FANCY HAVING A BOWL?: Mumbai Indians director of cricket operations Zaheer Khan. - Mumbai Indians Twitter

The ICC had in June banned the use of saliva to shine the ball due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

The new normal comes with its very own challenges and for one, bowlers cannot use saliva to shine the ball.

And apart from being in a bio-bubble and playing without fans at the stadiums, players will have to be mindful of that during this season's Indian Premier League (IPL), reckons former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan.

Zaheer, better known as 'Zak,' is the director of cricket operations at defending champions the Mumbai Indians, and while he said that old habits die hard, bowlers and their teammates will have to adapt to the new rule.

"Cricket balls and all that, we have to be a little careful and get used to not using the saliva as well," said Zaheer.

"Old habits, at times, just creep in as bowlers, so we will have to be mindful of that," added the 41-year-old.

Zak was the leader of India's bowling attack, with the left-arm pacer taking 311 wickets in 92 Tests and 282 scalps in 200 ODIs. He also returned with 17 wickets from 17 T20Is.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) had in June banned the use of saliva to shine the ball due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, following the recommendation by the ICC Cricket Committee.

The Committee, in consultation with the Medical Advisory Committee, had also noted that it is highly unlikely that the virus can be transmitted through sweat and saw no need to prohibit the use of sweat to polish the ball. They had also recommended enhanced hygiene measures to be implemented on and around the playing field.

The ICC also laid out protocols for the resumption of cricket with the England-West Indies, England-Pakistan and the ongoing England-Australia limited-overs series, adhering to the new standard operating procedures.

Speaking about the new normal, Zaheer said that the months spent in lockdown in India has taught cricketers how to deal with situations when they get onto the field.

"Lockdown has taught us," he said of how to cope with the new normal.

"When you are a professional athlete, you have to find a way of keeping that mental space which you like to be in. It varies individually. So, that is something which every individual has to take care of and own that individual space," he said.

And he felt that the players will get used to the protocols as days go by.

"I wouldn't say that it's going to be difficult as such. Just a matter of getting used to the new routines, the preparation routines are going to change. And you have to keep up with that," said Zaheer.

More than anything, Zak said it was a great feeling to return to cricket.

"It just feels good to be back out on the field again," he said.

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