Veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh has put human life over cricket when asked about whether the 13th season of the Indian Premier League should take place or not in the wake of the novel COVID-19.
Apart from affecting the cricketing schedule in a huge manner, the novel COVID-19 pandemic has also possessed a drastic doubt on one aspect of the game, i.e., the customary way of shining the ball with sweat or saliva.
“I do not know what decisions the government and BCCI take on the future of IPL. Honestly, even if IPL doesn’t happen for the first time in 13 years I think that is fine. We can’t force to have cricket seeing the serious situation we all are in. Human life comes first, cricket can wait,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Harbhajan, who readily agreed to play IPL 2020 without spectators a month ago, was slated to represent Chennai Super Kings in the biggest T20 league around the world.
Harbhajan Singh demands bowler-friendly wickets
There is no hiding to how the global pandemic has affected cricketing schedules at the highest level. In addition to the scheduling changes, cricket might also have to do away with an age-old practice of shining the ball with saliva considering the potential danger it possesses.
Accepting that the ban on saliva will be followed for some time, Harbhajan demanded for bowler-friendly wickets to make sure that balance between the bat and the ball stays intact.
“I think the ban on saliva and sweat will be here to stay. It will be very, very difficult for bowlers. In this scenario, pitches should be made [in a way] that a bowler can get some help. I mean if a bowler cannot even shine the ball to improve his bowling, he should at least not be given paata [flat] wickets,” Harbhajan said.
Speaking on similar lines, Australia all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne also urged players to “make sacrifices” to make sure that the sport resumes in the near future. It is worth mentioning that noted Australian sports manufacturer Kookaburra have come up with a cricket ball shine polish as a replacement of human saliva to shine the ball.