Islamabad: Pakistan batting coach Younis Khan believes it will be difficult for the players not to use saliva to shine the cricket ball after the ICC confirmed interim regulation changes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ICC has said that if a player applies saliva to the ball, typically in an effort to make it swing more, umpires will initially be lenient toward teams during an initial period of adjustment.
Subsequent instances will lead to a team receiving a warning. Repeated use of saliva on the ball will result in a five-run penalty to the batting side.
“It will be difficult for players who have got used to shining the ball using saliva,” Younis said during a video conference organised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday.
“Players at times act instinctively, but as supporting staff, we have an important role. It’s a challenge for me too, because we don’t have much time between now and England.”
Whenever saliva is applied to the ball, the umpires will be instructed to clean the ball before play recommences. Sweat can still be used to polish the ball, however.
The surge in coronavirus cases in Pakistan has forced the cricket board to shelve its plans of a training camp for players ahead of the England tour. Instead the PCB will ask the England Cricket Board to bring forward the scheduled travel of its team to London in early July so that players could get more time to practice before the first Test, likely to start from 5 August.
“I don’t want to make excuses by saying I don’t have enough time, but these are unusual times,” Younis said. “Even if you are to engage with players, you need to keep your distance from them and continue to follow protocols.
“I want to try and get my experience across to the players and for them to be able to benefit from it in the short time we have between now and the England tour. Where there’s a will, a lot can be achieved in a very short span of time.”
The PCB has beefed up its support staff ahead of the England tour by including Younis as batting coach and Mushtaq Ahmed as spin coach. Misbah-ul-Haq, who is also the chairman of selectors, is the head coach while Waqar Younis will continue as fast bowling coach.
In the absence of regular batting coach, Misbah had been working with the batsmen too but Khan is confident his arrival won’t confuse the players.
“What is important is I don’t want the players to become double minded or end up giving them conflicting instructions,” he said.
“In the Pakistan batting lineup, Azhar Ali or Asad Shafiq aside, you see a very young team. It wouldn’t help if we confused or overcoached them, and I wouldn’t want to contradict what Misbah has taught them. I’d rather work within what Misbah’s style is and work accordingly.”
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