Aakash Chopra on countering the dew factor:
The thing about dew is, the leather of the ball takes longer to get damp than the seam does. While water takes time to seep into the leather, the seam turns wet as soon as it gets exposed to the outfield. Gripping the ball then becomes tricky. The umpires won’t change the ball on the account of a wet seam. They will wait till the entire ball gets too wet to play with.
Now if only our commentators, who keep waffling on about the ‘dew factor kicking in’, were half as insightful and a tenth as specific…
For spinners, the challenge is in gripping the ball and imparting spin while delivering. It’s like bowling with a bar of wet soap. Maintaining a good hold on the ball is relatively easier for a finger spinner than for a wrist spinner; the latter have less control to begin with, and the wet ball rules out their contribution to a large extent. The finger spinner’s job isn’t easy either, and the attack tends to become one-dimensional. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an offspinner or a left-arm spinner: the ball usually goes straight after pitching. The only difference is the angle from which the ball is bowled.
There’s very little a spinner can do once the ball gets as wet, as it did in Bangladesh. As a spinner, one can only try to make the ball land on the right lengths as much as possible without thinking about too many variations. The only thing, perhaps, is to vary the pace. The wet ball, to a certain extent, allows you to bowl it a little slower or faster.
This series by Aakash, now 19 articles and counting, that looks at the game through the eyes of a player, is outstanding — and will hopefully grow into a book.