Former Karnataka captain R Vinay Kumar feels that the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) recommendation to prohibit the use of saliva to shine the ball will open up avenues for bowlers to bring their skills to the fore.
"With ICC bringing in the new rule, cricketers can use sweat as an alternative to shine the ball, but that might not be too safe either. ICC could maybe consider using another supplement similar to saliva to give a little advantage to the bowlers," Vinay Kumar said.
"Perhaps umpires could be handed over bottles with these supplements and they can decide how much of it to use to maintain shine on the ball. But this is a good opportunity for the bowlers to bring forward their skill sets and pick up wickets," he added.
One of Karnataka cricket's most respected names, Vinay Kumar made his debut for the state team in 2004, and soon made a name for himself as one of state team’s leading pacers.
A couple of years into playing for Karnataka, Vinay Kumar's career graph started to rise steadily, and ahead of IPL 2008, he earned a contract with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
At the turn of the new decade, Vinay Kumar was also named the captain of the Karnataka team and during his tenure as Karnataka skipper, the speedster led the star-studded side to notable wins, most famously the domestic treble in the 2013-14 and the 2014-15 season.
Having served Karnataka cricket for 15 years, Vinay Kumar shifted to Puducherry for the 2019-20 Ranji season, in an approach to give youngsters in Karnataka a chance to impress and carve out a career path for themselves. On his shift to the Rohit Damodaran-led side, Vinay Kumar enjoyed a terrific season with the unit and topped the bowling charts with 45 wickets from 9 matches.
The biggest feature of Vinay Kumar's bowling last season was his returns even on pitches which offered almost nothing for the pacers. The speedster was particularly impressive during a match against Arunachal Pradesh, a match in which he picked up a match haul of 11/76 and even made an important 123-ball 81* with the bat.
Vinay Kumar feels time is ripe for bowlers to develop unique skills
With buckets of experience over the years, it came as no surprise that the pacer did well even in conditions which seemed alien to him. Vinay Kumar's success last season was a testament of his experience gathered over the last decade and a half, having bowled with the new ball, old ball and in tricky, testing situations.
And, with the country in the midst of a tricky situation due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 36-year-old pacer elucidated on how cricketers will need to gear up for a new challenge post the lockdown.
"In practice sessions, if you talk about fielders as well, when the ball is thrown to them, if they see the shine is fading away, they put saliva on the ball and try to bring back the shine. Now with saliva banned, there’s a good chance for the limelight to fall on unique skill sets," Vinay Kumar added.