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Cricket news - Bowlers need an alternative to maintain the ball - Bumrah

Having not bowled for months due to the coronavirus-forced break, Bumrah isn't sure how the body will react.

Having not bowled for months due to the coronavirus-forced break, Bumrah isn't sure how the body will react.

India's pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah has said that there should be some alternative for the bowlers to maintain the ball in the backdrop of the ICC officially recommending that saliva must not be used to shine the ball in wake of the health and safety risk it poses due to the Covid-19.

The fast bowler also shared his opinion on the prospect of restrained celebrations, without high-fives, after picking up a wicket. "I was not much of a hugger anyway! And not a high-five person as well, so that doesn't trouble me a lot," Bumrah said on the ICC's video series, Inside Out Interviews. "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. In Test match cricket, yes (conditions are more bowler-friendly). That is why it's my favourite format, because we have something over there. But in 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."

For a fast bowler, rhythm is a crucial factor, and Bumrah hasn't bowled since the Test series versus New Zealand. The paceman noted that he was training hard to ensure he would be in 'decent shape' when the cricket resumes.

"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."

Bumrah has a unique action and the batsmen seem to take a fraction longer to get their feet moving in sync with it. "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," Bumrah said of his formative years. "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."

Bumrah also observed that he has tweaked a few aspects of his game. "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."

The paceman also talked about the reason behind developing a short run-up made up of eight paces. "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 or 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?" he said.

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