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Cricket news - Kumble calls for managing pitches, bowling workload when cricket resumes

Kumble warned against rushing bowlers back into action after lockdown

Kumble warned against rushing bowlers back into action after lockdown

With international cricket set to resume after a brief hiatus due to Covid-19, former Indian leg-spinner and current chairman of ICC's Cricketing Committee Anil Kumble stressed on the need to manage the workload of bowlers. Known for churning out long and tireless spells in his heyday, Kumble warned against rushing bowlers back into action and recommended "better balance between bat and ball" once the action sets in.

"That's why I believe that at training, they'll have to start slowly," opined Kumble who was speaking at a webinar hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

"Because it's not just about coming back and playing in a match," he felt. "It's also about coming back from two-and-a-half months of lockdown. Especially if you are a bowler, you need to have those bowling overs under your belt before you start competing. So it's important that you slowly and gradually come back into the sort of normalcy that you can."

On May 21, England were the first team whose bowlers resumed training with the batsmen and wicket-keepers joining the fray from June 1. With the ongoing pandemic far from over, Kumble suggested the need for cricketers to be smart about maintaining their bodies, given the inevitable rust that might have crept in during the lockdown.

"I know England have announced a potential Test series against West Indies, subject to the government allowing them, but there again the players will have to have some sort of a cushion [or] a back-up in terms of loading up their body to be able to sustain a Test match because bowling 30 overs for a fast bowler... 30-40 overs for a spinner is not going to be easy," Kumble added.

"And even for a batsman, the muscles which you use when you're batting are totally different. In a match situation, you're doing everything in a split of a second and you're not training for those, especially in a home condition. So, you need to build it up and probably have a few friendly games before you get into an important Test match."

Kumble also suggested having livelier pitches once Test cricket sets in, so as to ease in the bowlers into their workload. "The advantage that cricket has over other sports is that there is an element of adjustable variance in the pitch, which not many sports have," Kumble said. "You could manage the pitch in such a way that you could bring about a better balance between bat and ball."

Another important talking point recently has been about managing the condition of cricket balls post Covid-19. The ICC recently banned the use of saliva on cricket balls due to the potential consequences it could have with regards to virus transmission. Kumble felt that it was a decision made after appropriate deliberation.

"Based on medical advice, we believe that saliva could be the major contributor to carrying this disease and that's why we banned the use of saliva, although it's second nature in cricket," the 49-year-old said. "That's something that players will find hard to manage."

As things stand, West Indies' tour of England is set to be international cricket's comeback vehicle with CWI green-lighting the tour - a development that was eventually solidified by ECB's official announcement of dates for the series. On 3rd June, the West Indies Board announced a full-strength squad including a reserves bench for the tour.

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