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Jasprit Bumrah wants an ‘alternative’ to saliva for shining the ball post-Covid

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Jasprit Bumrah believes some provision should be made for an “alternative” to saliva for bowlers as a means to shine the ball, once cricket resumes. The ICC had agreed with its cricket committee and said no saliva should be applied to the ball as part of the new safety protocols in a post Covid-19 world, but Bumrah has suggested that, with conditions already loaded in favour of batsmen in limited-overs cricket, a counter-balance was needed.

Bumrah was speaking to Ian Bishop and Shaun Pollock on the ICC’s video series Inside Out interviews, and elaborated on his unique action, why a short run-up works for him, his preference for the Duke ball, and life in lockdown.

On the prospect of no saliva, high-fives or hugging
I was not much of a hugger anyway! And not a high-five person as well, so that doesn’t trouble me a lot. The only thing that interests me is the saliva bit. I don’t know what guidelines we’ll have to follow when we come back, but I feel there should be an alternative. If the ball is not well maintained, it’s difficult for the bowlers. The grounds are getting shorter and shorter, the wickets are becoming flatter and flatter. So we need something, some alternative for the bowlers to maintain the ball so that it can do something – maybe reverse in the end or conventional swing.

[Bishop points out that conditions in Test cricket have been pace-friendly over the last couple of years]

In Test match cricket, yes. That is why it’s my favourite format, because we have something over there. But in one-day cricket and T20 cricket… one-day cricket there are two new balls, so it hardly reverses at the end. We played in New Zealand, the ground (boundary) was 50 metres. So even if you are not looking to hit a six, it will go for six. In Test matches I have no problem, I’m very happy with the way things are going.

Whenever you play, I’ve heard the batsmen – not in our team, everywhere – complaining the ball is swinging. But the ball is supposed to swing! The ball is supposed to do something! We are not here just to give throwdowns, isn’t it? (laughter) This is what I tell batsmen all the time. In one-day cricket, when did the ball reverse last, I don’t know. Nowadays the new ball doesn’t swing a lot as well. So whenever I see batsmen say the ball is swinging or seaming and that is why I got out – the ball is supposed to do that. Because it doesn’t happen so much in the other formats, it’s a new thing for the batsmen when the ball is swinging or seaming.

On how bowling can be affected during the lockdown
I really don’t know how your body reacts when you don’t bowl for two months, three months. I’m trying to keep up with training so that as soon as the grounds open up, the body is in decent shape. I’ve been training almost six days a week but I’ve not bowled for a long period of time so I don’t know how the body will react when I bowl the first ball.

I’m looking at it as a way to renew your own body. We’ll never get such a break again, so even if you have a small niggle here and there, you can be a refreshed person when you come back. You can prolong your career.

“I’ve heard the batsmen complaining the ball is swinging. But the ball is supposed to swing! The ball is supposed to do something! We are not here just to give throwdowns, isn’t it?”

JASPRIT BUMRAH

On the back injury that made him miss the 2019-20 home season
I don’t know what actually was happening because there was not a lot of pain. There was some difficulty, some stiffness here and there, so we took the conservative approach and just tried to make it stronger. Could have been back earlier, but yes – there was no pain, no difficulty as such. I was just focusing on the break that I’d gotten because of a small niggle. I focused on the whole body development at that time.

On the New Zealand tour post-injury
We earlier thought it was a stress fracture but I was lucky that it was not giving me any pain. If there is no physical pain there is no limitation. So you won’t hold yourself back. In that aspect I was a little lucky. Yes maybe one or two games you give yourself a little bit of time, but as soon as one or two games went by I wasn’t holding myself back.

On his unique action
I’ve never been to a professional coach as such (in his formative years). All my cricket is self-taught. Everything I learned was through television, watching videos… so I don’t know how this action developed. There were always some people doubting that should I change it or not, but I’ve never really listened to them a lot. I always had belief that it could work.

ALSO READ: The boy called Boom

I have changed certain things… When I started, in 2013, I used to jump out a lot. If something is giving you trouble you change it. If it’s not giving you any trouble, then I keep on doing it. I listen to a lot of advice, I’m very inquisitive. I ask a lot of questions to all the senior players and coaches. Getting general feedback, filtering the advice – if it works for me, then I try to do it. If it doesn’t, you have to let it go.

Growing up, wherever I went, the general feedback was that this guy won’t be a top-rated bowler, he won’t be able to play for a long period of time, he won’t be able to do well as a bowler (because of his action). But the only validation that is required is your own validation.

On having a short run-up
The run-up is because of playing in the backyard. We didn’t have a lot of space when I used to play as a child. This was the longest run-up you could have, so maybe that could be a reason. I’ve tried a longer run-up and nothing changes – the speed is still the same. So why run so much?

This helps me when I play Test matches because when I’m bowling my fourth spell, fifth spell, I’m relatively more fresh than the bowlers who play with me and have a longer run-up. This was my theory. This is not the best thing I should say but I am bowling quicker than them in my fourth spell as well! So I think I should stick to it. If I have some physical difficulty and if it’s giving me some trouble, then I’ll find solutions. But if it’s not broken, why fix it?

On developing the outswinger (inswinger to left-handers)
I always had the outswinger, but when I came into the international set up I was not very confident of it because maybe it was not going out really well. The pace should be good, you should have the feel of it. I was trying to work on it, and in the West Indies, conditions were helpful, the ball was helpful so I was able to swing it.

It was there even in the 2016 T20 World Cup. I bowled an inswinger to Chris Gayle. That was the first time I tried bowling an inswinger to the left-hander. But I was not so confident of it because you don’t know if you’ll have the zip, if it will swing as much. In England (2018) I didn’t play the first two Tests because I had a thumb injury so I bowled in the nets. That was my first experience with the Duke ball and it was swinging in the nets. So I became more confident and bowled the outswinger in the nets. Hearing the commentary as well (on air, there was talk of the left-handers being able to leave Bumrah outside off because it wouldn’t swing back in), I thought maybe if they are listening, and they don’t know I have the outswinger, then it could probably go to my advantage.

On the Duke ball
I love bowling with the Duke ball. It does a lot, it seams, it swings… when you have a little bit of help, that does make a difference. Nowadays it’s difficult to be a fast bowler because the boundaries are getting shorter, the wickets are getting flatter. So if the ball does something, it makes an even competition. If there is no help you have very few things to play with so it becomes a lot more difficult for a bowler. I enjoy bowling with the Duke ball more than any other ball.

On his Test career so far
When I played my first Test match in South Africa, I was not used to bowling on such different kinds of wickets, because that was my first time in South Africa. There was a lot more bounce, lot more seam. In India, we tend to bowl a lot fuller because we have to use reverse swing in first-class cricket to get wickets, or maybe try to swing the ball early up. But in that Test series, in the first innings, I tried bowling Indian lengths, tried to bowl a little too full. So the South African batsmen played me a lot better. They drive the ball on the rise over there, so that was something new. Quickly in the second innings we had to adjust. We could afford to bowl a little shorter there and try to seam the ball because there was a lot more bounce. After that went to England, the ball swings, so again you have to go fuller. Then Australia was different again.

On the T20 World Cup
We were really preparing well for it. We had a lot of T20 games before the World Cup as per the old schedule. If everything had been on plan, we would have had the IPL as well so we would have had a fair number of T20 games. We would always want to believe that we can win the tournament. That is how we felt in the 2019 World Cup, but you know how the game was. In half an hour, 40 minutes it can change.



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Stuart Broad ‘frustrated’ and ‘angry’ at being left out of England side for first Test

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Stuart Broad has described himself as “frustrated” and “angry” at having been left out of England’s side for the first Test of the series against West Indies.

Broad, the second highest wicket-taker in England’s Test history, said he found the decision “difficult to understand” and suggested he had sought clarification on his future from Ed Smith, the national selector.

“I’m not a particularly emotional person but I’ve found the last couple of days quite tough,” Broad told Sky Sports shortly before play resumed on the third day. “To say I was disappointed would be an understatement; you’re disappointed if you drop your phone and the screen breaks.

“I’m frustrated, angry and gutted. It’s difficult to understand. I’ve probably bowled the best I’ve ever bowled the last couple of years, I felt it was my shirt. I was in the team for the Ashes and going to South Africa and winning there.”

ALSO READ: Broad’s stock rises in lone spectator role

Broad was England’s leading wicket-taker in their previous Test series – he claimed 14 wickets at a cost of 19.42 apiece in South Africa – and in the Ashes series of 2019, when he claimed 23 wickets at 26.65.

“I spoke to Ed Smith [the national selector] last night, he said he was involved in picking the 13 and this side was picked purely for this pitch,” Broad continued. “I wanted clarification on my the future going forward and I was given pretty positive feedback going forward.

“So yes, I was frustrated in the fact that I felt like I deserved a spot in the team.”

ALSO READ: Broad faces axe as England ponder Wood and Archer for first Test

Despite that frustration, Broad accepted the bowlers picked in front of him also deserved their places and accepted that the current competition for places was probably a healthy thing for England.

“You can’t argue the bowlers walking on that field don’t deserve to play,” Broad said. “Everyone deserves to play. Chris Woakes, Sam Curran were bowling really well and probably deserve to be in the XI. It’s just annoying when it’s not you that’s in that XI. Very rarely do you get guys fit and available for each Test match. That’s where selection has been tricky.

“It’s great to see strength and depth in the fast bowling ranks. It’s the only way that England cricket moves forward and gets better. And with high competition in squads it keeps the standard high. Everyone is under pressure for their spots.”

Broad’s omission broke a run of 51 consecutive home Tests dating back to 2012.



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Curtis Campher, Jonathan Garth the new faces as Ireland name 21-man squad for England ODIs

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Ireland have left Stuart Thompson and Shane Getkate out while naming an expanded 21-man squad for a three-match ODI series against England this month, while David Delany is missing the trip as precaution following an injury.

Curtis Campher, the South Africa-born allrounder who was awarded an emerging contract earlier this year, has been included in a senior squad for the first time after having represented Ireland A against Namibia in February, while there is another new face in legspinner Jonathan Garth – whose sister Kim quit Irish cricket to take up a contract with Cricket Victoria last month.

Ireland will arrive in Southampton on a charter flight from Dublin on July 18, and play an intra-squad warm-up match and a fixture against England Lions before the group is separated into a 14-man squad and seven reserves. They will play three ODIs – the first game in the new ODI Super League – at the Ageas Bowl, before returning to Dublin on August 5.

“The selectors were delighted to have been able to meet once more to select a squad for international action. We have lost so much cricket this year, so to have a series – let alone such a major series as this – to look forward to is a great relief for all,” Andrew White, the chair of national men’s selectors, said. “This lack of on-field action since March – and the short lead-in programme to the ODI series – influenced our thinking on the broader squad. However, the unique circumstances of the situation has allowed us to involve more players than we would normally bring on such a tour.”

White also said that some players had been selected to “help our batters prepare for the type of opposition we’ll be facing”, which seemed like a nod to Garth’s inclusion. He is the only legspinner in the wider party, while England have named two in their 24-man training group in Adil Rashid and Matt Parkinson.

“While a number of players like Stuart Thompson and Shane Getkate are unfortunate to not to be travelling, the experience that will be gained on this trip by a number of the younger players will be invaluable in their development”

Andrew White

“The form shown by several players in the Caribbean in January, Wolves tour in February and the Afghan series in March really bolstered their case for selection,” White said. “We’re delighted that our top wicket-taker in 2019, Mark Adair, returns after recovering from ankle surgery, and feel we have the right squad balance for these important fixtures – keeping in mind that they are World Cup qualifiers.”

Thompson and Getkate’s exclusions might come as a surprise, not least given that both have central contracts for 2020-21 and that both have been regulars in white-ball squads in recent years.

“While a number of players like Stuart Thompson and Shane Getkate are unfortunate to not to be travelling, the experience that will be gained on this trip by a number of the younger players will be invaluable in their development,” White said. “Additionally, David Delany was not considered for selection this time. As a result of his previous surgery, and the subsequent extended lockdown period, we were not fully confident that he has had the time to complete the necessary amount of preparation in order to safely play in these matches.”

As well as the task at hand, several Ireland players will hope that strong performances in this series can provide them with a springboard towards contracts for the T20 Blast. Paul Stirling’s overseas deal at Northants is one of only a handful yet to be cancelled in the competition, and ESPNcricinfo understands that some names in this squad have been floated to counties in recent weeks as possible options to replace their bigger overseas names.



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Trinidad & Tobago gets government nod to host CPL 2020

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The 2020 CPL will take place in Trinidad & Tobago between August 18 and September 10, after the organisers got the final nod from the local government. A total of 33 matches including two semifinals and a final will be played behind closer doors across two stadiums.

As per the agreement between the CPL and the T&T government, all the participants – squads and team management of the six franchises, the organisers and the rest of the crews – will need to self-isolate for two weeks before they board their flights, and for two weeks upon arrival in T&T. All the participants will be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival followed by two more tests – a week and two weeks after arrival.

All six teams will stay in the same hotel in Trinidad. Even within that bio-secure bubble, it is understood that each team will be broken up into mini clusters. In case anyone from one of the clusters tests positive before or during the tournament, that cluster will have to self-isolate.

The CPL is set to be the first time people from outside of T&T are allowed into the country since the closure of its borders in late March. The Caribbean has been relatively unaffected during the Covid-19 pandemic, with T&T only recording 133 positive tests and eight deaths until July 9, according to data released by its health ministry. As a precaution, the T&T government has closed borders even to other countries in the Caribbean and its own citizens who are overseas.



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