No problem getting ball to swing in England without saliva – Dukes owner

Cricket

The owner of ball manufacturer Dukes says bowlers should have “no problem” producing swing in England this summer, despite the imminent ban on using saliva.

After recommendations from the International Cricket Council’s medical advisory committee it seems certain that a temporary restriction will be placed on players using the traditional method of spitting or licking their fingers to shine up the ball when the sport resumes.

Australia seamer Mitchell Starc has warned that children may not want to become bowlers if a lack of movement through the air made life for batsmen too easy, but Chris Woakes suggested last week the swing-friendly Dukes used by the England and Wales Cricket Board could be a saving grace for pacemen on these shores.

Chris Woakes is confident the Dukes ball will still move
Chris Woakes is confident the Dukes ball will still move (Mike Egerton/PA)

Now Dilip Jajodia, owner of the manufacturer, has offered his reassurance.

“Woakes is absolutely correct, I don’t see swing being a big problem in England,” Jajodia told the PA news agency.

“You have to have a balance between bat and ball otherwise the game is boring, we know that. But it’s not just the shiny surface or the rough side that causes swing, it’s the integrity of the ball.

“You don’t have to worry because with a ball constructed like ours you’ve got a good shape, a strong seam that acts as a rudder through the air and, because it is hand-stitched, it stays harder for longer.

The Dukes balls are hand-stitched
The Dukes balls are hand-stitched (Nick Potts/PA)

“They are not banning the use of sweat so you run your hand over your forehead and, with the nature of the leather, a rigorous polish should get the grease moving enough to give a good shine.”

Australian manufacturers Kookaburra have developed a wax applicator in an attempt to offer a short-term boost to bowlers but Jajodia had a simple word of advice for any seamers looking for extra help.

“These days the kits are polyester but when you want to materials to work for each other they both need to be natural, like the leather of the ball. Think of the great Malcolm Marshall or Angus Fraser, they always had a cotton towel tucked in to their trousers.

Players may need to use a different tactic to shine the ball
Players may need to use a different tactic to shine the ball (Nick Potts/PA)

“This summer more than any other that is what people should be using.”

The sporting shutdown came at a dreadful time for what is essentially a seasonal trade, but Jajodia remains confident that a business which dates back to the 18th century is ready to ride this difficult period.

“If next year they still aren’t allowing amateur sport then we really would be up the Khyber Pass. There would have to be a subsidy from somewhere otherwise we won’t be around anymore,” he said.

“But we have a strong balance sheet, no borrowings and with our reputation I’m confident we will not need to resort to any outside assistance.”

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