NO SPITBALLING: Cricketers welcome unusual rule change
BANNING putting saliva on the ball won't phase the Clarence Valley resident "bowlologist" Zac Page.
The Coutts Crossing medium pacer is renowned for getting the most out of a four-piece Kookaburra, tormenting batsmen with swing through the air and cut off the wicket.
Page said the International Cricket Council's proposal to ban bowlers from using saliva on the ball because of fears of spreading COVID-19 was a good thing.
"Using sweat is bad enough, but the thought of different cricketers spitting on the ball before they gave it back to me is gross. And that's before COVID-19."
Page said he used sweat which built up on his lower back during a hot day in the field as the natural shine wore off the ball and he waited for the reverse swing to kick in.
"I try to load up one side of the ball with sweat so it goes out of balance," he said.
"Once the orthodox swing goes, you keep loading it up until the ball starts to swing in the air towards the heavy side of the ball."
Page said ball maintenance was a team activity and everyone needed to be on board.
"When I was playing for Souths I'd get some reverse swing going and I'd bowl a beautiful outswinger and beat the batsman," he said.
"The keeper would throw the ball to the captain in the slips and he'd polish up the rough side of the ball. Next delivery, gun barrel straight on the pads and whacked through the legside for four.
"Now I'm at Coutts everyone is one the same page and we're all looking after the ball."
Page said the most frustrating part of swing bowling was building the ball up to begin reverse swinging.
"It starts almost imperceptibly," he said. "You'll notice the ball just moves off straight a fraction, but you feel relief because you know you can start putting pressure on the batsmen again."
Page said reverse swing was a great weapon for the bowler and struck fear into batsmen.
"The ball swings more and later with reverse," he said. "And because it moves in the opposite direction, there's the element of surprise when it first starts to go.
"Before it starts to reverse you can be struggling to keep the runs to eight an over. Two overs later the batters can hardly hit it off the square."
Page said the ICC needed to think about its rules about altering the condition of the ball.
"Sweat or saliva, it's pretty gross," he said. "Maybe they should consider allowing the fielding team to have designated cloth with some lanolin or some cream in it to use on the ball,
"It would be better for me than having the ball coming back to me covered in everyone's spit and sweat."