The impact of Corona Virus or COVID-19 is now being felt across the world and the pandemic has also arrived on Indian shores. While it is wreaking havoc on all aspects of life in countries where it is spreading rapidly, it is also greatly affecting the field of sports. Several sports events had to be canceled or postponed and even the Olympics are under threat.
The cricket world has largely remained unaffected from the threat of this virus but even it is now being forced to take measures to stop Corona Virus from affecting the players. A proposed two-match T20I series between Asia XI and World XI, set to be played in Dhaka, has been postponed due to the spread of COVID-19.
But, the impact of this dangerous infection will now affect cricket in a very peculiar way. Today, the three-match ODI series between hosts India and visitors South Africa gets underway. While the contest may be exciting between the two sides, one integral skill of the game may be altogether missing from the matches. That skill is reverse swing.
Yes, you read that right, the bowlers might not be able to reverse swing the ball in this series at all. The reason is the Corona Virus! How? You may be wondering. It's because the prerequisite for the ball to reverse swing is for one side to be kept shiny and the other to be roughed up. That is why the fielding team's players spend so much time shining the ball.
No shining the ball
However, with the danger of COVID-19, using the saliva to shine the ball, as players usually do, could be very problematic. Hence, there is a possibility that players in both the teams may desist from doing so. Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, coming back into the team after a long injury lay-off, revealed that the issue is very much on the table.
"We have thought about this thing (not using saliva) but I can't say right now we will not use saliva because if we don't use saliva then how will we shine the ball. Then we will get hit and you people will say you are not bowling well," Bhuvi said in the pre-match press conference.
The seamer further added: "...Let's see. We will have a team meeting today (Wednesday) and whatever instruction we get or whatever is the best option, we will do. It all depends on the team doctor and what advice he gives us."
If, as seems likely, the players are told not to use their saliva to shine the ball, then there is not going to be any reverse swing for the bowlers. This will cause them great problems, as Bhuvneshwar said. However, the last thing anyone wants is for players to catch the Corona Virus. To avoid that, a little on-field difficulty should be tolerated.