Wasim Akram feels saliva ban will make bowlers 'robots'

Pakistan's legendary pacer Wasim Akram has warned that the saliva ban imposed by the ICC could have a negative impact on the bowlers.

Wasim Akram feels bowlers would become “robots” after the ICC approved the Cricket Committee's recommendation to ban the act of shining the ball with saliva.   -  GETTY IMAGGES

Pakistan great Wasim Akram feels bowlers would become “robots” after the International Cricket Council (ICC) approved the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee's recommendation to ban the act of shining the ball with saliva as a precaution for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will make bowlers robots, coming and bowling without swing,” Akram told news agency AFP on Wednesday, also adding that they would have to be patient and wait for the ball to age naturally. However, players can still apply sweat to the ball.

“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 alone was unlikely to generate swing as in some countries it was too cold. Sweat is just something of an add-on, a top-up. Too much use of sweat will leave the cricket ball too wet,” he added.

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Akram, who took 414 Test and 502 one-day international wickets during his legendary playing career, believes some sort of an artificial substance could potentially help with the swing as international cricket is set to resume with England hosting West Indies in a Test series in July.

“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,” he said.

The 1992 ICC World Cup-winner also claimed suggestions that limited ball-tampering be allowed should also be considered by officials.

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

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