Psychologist recommends finger caps for bowlers, fielders to avoid saliva use
Anusheela Brahmachary, a Counsellor & Sports & Exercise Interventional therapist, currently practicing in Medica Superspecialty Hospital in Kolkata was not surprised when she learnt that the umpires had to sanitize the ball after saliva was accidentally applied by one of the England fielders during Day Four of the Old Trafford Test.
In fact, she has even suggested the few remedies to the ICC's chief medical officer Vanessa Hobkirk to avoid further repeats of the incidents.
Speaking exclusively over the telephone, she said: "The incident of Sibley using saliva on the ball irrespective of the new regulations is not uncalled for. In fact, in the course of the tournaments, this slip can happen to other players as well."
"It is a very old habit of the bowlers to use saliva to soften the surface of the ball. Even though they are aware of the new regulations, the existing neural path of this behaviour is strongly present in them. In the course of the match, many bowlers may do so unconsciously. It is evident that umpires and the cameras have to keep a vigilant eye on the players constantly. But some cognitive-behavioural interventions may come in handy as well to rehabituate the players to the new norms".
"Finger caps may come in handy in this context. It is a simple rubber cap used to cover the fingertips of an individual to forbid them from putting fingers in the mouth. This is often used to modify finger sucking habits amongst toddlers.
“Finger caps can be custom made for the bowlers in a way which will forbid them to lick their fingers before bowling and will also not hinder their skills or cause any discomfort," she added.
"In addition, before every over instructions can flash on the boards which will remind the players of the dos and don'ts. Such repetitive instructional cues are much effective in changing existing behaviour and replacing it with a new one."