India's Ishant says coronavirus will change the way bowlers operate

New Delhi (AFP) –


The world's top bowlers will likely have to change the way they go about getting swing and seam as a result of the coronavirus, Indian paceman Ishant Sharma said Monday.

Bowlers traditionally get the ball to move in the air by applying shine to one side via sweat or saliva, but new regulatitions being considered to outlaw the practice will change the game, he told an online discussion.

There will be "no option" but to play by new rules when the sport resumes, said Ishant, who plays for for Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League.

"I feel cricketers will have to get used to the new normal, whatever that is," he said.

Last week the Australian Institute of Sport issued new guidelines expressly forbidding rubbing spit or sweat into the ball's surface as a condition for competitive cricket to resume.

That prompted former Australia captain Ian Chappell to suggest some form of ball-tampering be allowed.

"With cricket on hold, this is the ideal time to conduct the exercise," Chappell said.

"Using saliva and perspiration are now seen as a health hazard, so bowlers require something to replace the traditional methods of shining the ball."

All international cricket -- including cash-rich tournaments such as the IPL -- has been halted by the coronavirus, with no clear timetable for a resumption.

India has extended a nationwide coronavirus lockdown until May 31, but new rules starting Monday allow stadiums to host events without spectators.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India said it "will not rush into any decision" on the IPL and will wait before organising training camps for national players.

Ishant has been in and out of the Indian team due to injuries and inconsistent performances since his debut in 2007, but he hit form before the virus struck.

The lanky bowler, who has claimed 412 wickets in 97 Tests and 80 in one-day internationals, credits his 2018 season with English County side Sussex as the reason for his improvement.

"People keep saying Ishant 2.0, which it makes it sound like I am a robot. But the phase before 2017 was one when the pressure to perform was a lot," he said.

"It gave me sleepless nights, and I hardly found any joy in my bowling. My county stint with Sussex was what changed everything."