Use of a sugary substance can’t provide advantage to fielding side: Indian researcher

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Bipin Dani
Observer Correspondent

Mumbai—Dr. Rabindra (Rabi) Mehta, an USA-based Indian scientist and a Sports Aerodynamics Consultant has endorsed the views of South African coach Russell Domingo, who has said that the application of substances to ball happens often.
Domingo and the Indian researcher were talking on “Lolly-line” or “Mint-gate”, where the South African player Du Plessis had been charged when television footage of him shining the ball with saliva – while also having a sweet or mint in his mouth (during match against Australia in Hobart)
“This issue of using mints/sweets to “enhance” the saliva is certainly not new. A few years ago, we heard that the English players were using a special “sweet,” supposedly for the same reasons”, Dr. Mehta, who has also worked with Australia’s Troy Cooley (during Cooley’s stint with the England team), said exclusively over his mobile from California.
“The thought or hypothesis is that by adding sugar to the natural saliva, one ends up with a better lubricant which will enhance the process of shinning the ball. As is well known now, the goal for the fielding team is to try and produce a ball with one side smooth and shiny and the other as rough as possible”.
“This helps in achieving reverse and contrast swing, while still enabling conventional swing.
The association of ball tampering with roughening the ball is now well established”.
“The new issue is whether sucking mints or sweets give the fielding side an advantage. Of course, the rules state that only natural substances (saliva or sweat) can be legally used to shine the ball. In my opinion, the use of a sugary substance not provide any obvious advantage.
The natural substances are good enough to do the job. So this whole issue of using sweets is more hype than anything else… perhaps it provides a psychological advantage!!”, he further added.
“Some of the comments (published lately) that suggest that the ball shape or weight may be affected by employing sweets is totally rubbish, with no scientific justification”, Dr. Mehta signed off.