Bharat Arun: We will figure out ways to shine ball without saliva

Moreover, India's bowling coach also wants the fast bowlers to utilise the lockdown period well by getting fitter and stronger.

India's bowling coach Bharat Arun with Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah during a nets session.   -  AP Photo

The challenge before everyone is to make the most of what is available during these unprecedented times of COVID-19. 

However, during the lockdowns in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, India’s bowling coach B. Arun sees possibilities.

“It’s a testing situation. But in this difficult period, I also see an opportunity,” he said to Sportstar on Saturday.

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Arun elaborated, “You see international cricketers, including pacemen, rarely get such a long break. So here is the chance for them to get fitter and stronger and recover from injuries and niggles.”

In this context, Arun said Indian team’s strength and conditioning coach Nick Webb and physio Nitin Patel are doing a fine job to give the bowlers diverse fitness routines based on the equipment available with the players.

Now, with the government having given permission to international cricketers to practice with their trainers at grounds, Arun said, “Now the bowlers can send down deliveries, find their rhythm.”

But then, cricketers have to attain match fitness. And so far the government has not given its nod for players to practise together as a team.

Arun said, “Once the government says ‘yes,’ we need six to eight weeks together as a team. There has to be a camp, then we need to have practice matches and hopefully we would have some domestic matches by then. Match fitness and being sharp and ready for international cricket is crucial.”

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“The team-management has been in constant touch with the boys through video conferencing. They are in good spirits and raring to go,” he added.

Looking at the campaigns ahead, “Our immediate focus is on the next game we play. And every team is tough to beat in its backyard. But the Test series in Australia, later this year, will be a big challenge. We are confident,” he said.

Arun termed the Test series setback in New Zealand as an aberration and added, “We are not looking at the past. We are looking ahead.”

And dwelling on the contentious issue of saliva being banned from shining the ball owing to COVID-19 concerns, Arun said: “We are allowed to use sweat. So we will work on that. And during the camp we will also figure out ways to shine the ball without saliva.

"If the ICC permits artificial substance to shine the ball, it should be the same for everyone.”

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