“Using saliva is natural rather than on intent”: Waqar Younis rejects suggestion to use artificial substance to shine cricket ball

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Former Pakistani bowling legend Waqar Younis has reacted strongly to proposals to use an artificial substance to such as wax or shoe polish to shine the ball so that bowlers can use to improve swing bowling. The discussion on the use of an artificial substance has gained momentum in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Up until now, bowlers across the world have been using saliva or body sweat to shine the ball during the match to facilitate swing bowling.

Waqar Younis is current the bowling coach of Pakistan. He had retired from cricket soon after the Pakistani cricket team captained by him lost to India in a crucial World Cup match in South Africa in 2003.

Younis, who was renowned for his menacing reverse swing, told ESPNcricinfo website, “As a fast bowler, I reject this because this [using saliva and sweat] is a natural process. A ball exchanges hands all day. You run in, huffing and puffing, so you sweat and that gets on the ball. Also, using saliva is natural rather than on intent. It’s a habit and you just can’t control this aspect.”

Younis added, “I don’t know how this discussion came up, but I feel people who want the game to be played are frustrated with the lockdown. They are overthinking it. I doubt this new idea of using (artificial) substance instead of saliva is a solution. You can make a bowler use a predefined substance on the ball, but at the same time, practically it’s not possible to prevent a bowler using his sweat or saliva.”

All international and domestic cricket matches have stopped due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than two lakh lives globally. The suggestion to avoid using saliva to shine the cricket ball is primarily to avoid the spread of contamination from the virus in the future.

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