England captain Joe Root says ban on using saliva amid coronavirus should improve bowlers
23rd May 2020

Joe Root believes the likely ban on saliva to shine the ball as cricket resumes post coronavirus could increase the skills of his bowlers.

The ICC’s cricketing committee has recommended prohibiting saliva being used due to an “elevated risk of transmission” amid the pandemic, although the application of sweat will still be allowed as bowlers look to generate swing.

Speaking to Sky Sports, England captain Root – whose side hope to begin a behind-closed-doors Test series against West Indies in July – said: “It could work in our favour and up skill levels. Not having the assistance that you might normally have means your accuracy has to improve.

“Guys will have to find another way to get something out of the surface, whether that’s a bit more effort, changing angles on the crease, using the wobble seam they might not have in their locker.

“It could develop our bowlers in a four or five-week period.”

Root was speaking during a Sky Sports watchalong of Stuart Broad’s 8-15 against Australia at Trent Bridge in 2015, when England shot out their opponents for just 60.

When asked by Broad whether he thinks reverse swing could dominate the impending Test summer, Root added: “It could be what we aim for – I guess it depends on the weather.

“We have been blessed with beautiful weather in the last month or so, so if we get that when we get back to playing, the squares are very dry and the surfaces are abrasive, that comes into it.

“We have had summers before where that’s been the case, so it will be interesting to see.”

Root and Broad also discussed their training programmes ahead of England’s planned return to action in July.

Broad has begun individual bowling, while Root and England’s batsmen are due to head back into the nets in early June – though both are determined not to burn themselves out in practice.

“I have bowled 12 overs so far and felt really good,” said Broad. “The key is not to get too excited, too competitive early and push too much. Let the body naturally get used to bowling again.

“I have three sessions next week of six or seven overs and then my workloads will get up to where I am comfortable bowling at a batsman.

“You don’t want to bowl at a batsman too early as that’s when you will try and bowl with full force and be under more pressure.

“We are all in the same boat. It’s not like any team is going to come in with loads more or loads less preparation. It will be an even playing field.”

Root added: “I think it’s right that the bowlers have a bit longer with the workload they need to get through them ready for the start of the season – so that injury is not a factor and their bodies are tuned back into the work that needs to be done in a Test match.

“It will be nice to feel bat on ball again and hopefully get used to middling a few. Then it will be gradually building things up and then eventually coming together as a squad and facing bowlers.

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