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'It will make bowlers robots' - Wasim Akram on saliva ban
Ban on Saliva

'It will make bowlers robots' - Wasim Akram on saliva ban

Wasim Akram feels fast bowlers will cease to become effective as a consequence of the saliva ban approved by the ICC as a coronavirus precaution.

Pacers generally keep one side of the ball shiny by applying saliva or sweat on it in order to generate swing and movement in the air.

The ICC, however, has acted upon the advice received from the medical panel regarding the threat of transmission of the virus through this practice and has banned the use of saliva on an interim basis.

This rule will be strictly followed once international cricket resumes with umpires reserving the right to impose a five-run penalty if a fielding side continues to rub spit on the ball despite two warnings.

Akram, who ranks as Pakistan's most prolific wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, believes bowlers will be at a disadvantage due to this temporary measure.

"It will make bowlers robots, coming and bowling without swing," he told AFP.

Akram added that the fielding team will have to be patient and wait for the ball to age naturally.

"It's a quizzical situation for me as I grew up using saliva to shine the ball and to swing it."

"I am all for precautions in these tough times, so bowlers have to wait for the ball to get old and rough for them to get swing.

"Sweat is just something of an add-on, a top-up. Too much use of sweat will leave the cricket ball too wet," he said.

According to Akram, one solution to address bowlers' woes could be to allow them to employ certain artificial substances as he urged cricket officials to search for alternatives.

"I believe that they will need to find a reasonable solution. Artificial substances like vaseline could be used to swing the ball but how much of it?

"Let’s see, we have this England versus the West Indies series to judge how it goes, because I have never experienced this thing."

Akram also tentatively suggested permitting ball-tampering under controlled circumstances that could be observed by the umpires after enough time had lapsed bowling with the new ball.

"When can you tamper the ball? Right from the first over or after 20-25 overs? They will need to sit down and do brainstorming," he stated.

"The game is already tilted more in favour of the batsmen."