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June 6, 2020

Akram backs idea of postponing T20 World Cup

KARACHI: Cricket has been a batsman’s game for quite some time and Wasim Akram believes that post Covid-19 restrictions could make things even worse for bowlers.

In a bid to minimise infection, experts have called for precautionary measures once cricketing action resumes. And among those restrictions will be a ban on the use of saliva for ball management.

In an interview with ‘The News’ the Pakistani legend while backing idea of postponing T20 World Cup also urged international cricket authorities to delay T20 World to find ways and means to keep it a fair battle between the bat and the ball.

“As a bowler, I know how hard it is to get wickets when the conditions are not very conducive,” Wasim said. “So I’m sure fast bowlers won’t like it if they are stopped from using saliva to shine the ball during T20 World Cup. They are allowing sweat but I can say for sure that it isn’t the same. You shine the ball with saliva and sweat is just something of an add-on, a top-up. Too much use of sweat will leave the cricket ball too wet.”

For a man who is regarded among the greatest fast bowlers of all time, Wasim, who took 414 Test and 502 ODI wickets during a celebrated international career, surely knows what he’s talking about.

So what’s the solution? “Well to be honest it’s the job of the experts who are there to find the remedies. There are many accomplished cricketers on the ICC committees and I’m sure that they must be working on it.

“Personally, I believe that they will need to find a reasonable solution. Allowing the use of sweat to shine the ball isn’t enough. I don’t know whether an artificial substance, something like gel that is good enough to do the job is available presently.

“But I would say that they will need to find a quick fix to this problem. Already, cricket is facing a gigantic task considering the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has put a halt to all action. “And even when cricket resumes, we will see teams playing behind closed doors. There will be no spectators, no crowds.”

While the idea of such matches sounds depressing to Wasim, he believes that the sport will need to take such decisions to keep moving forward. “All sports all over the world are suffering because of the pandemic. So cricket isn’t alone. Life has to go on. But we have to keep health and safety of all as the most important thing.”

Wasim is of the view that the timing was right to resume bilateral matches between nations.However, he believes that the world cricket bosses should wait for a more conducive time before going ahead with plans for holding multi-nation tournaments like the Twenty20 World Cup scheduled to take place in Australia from October 18 to November 15.

“Personally, I don’t it’s a good idea,” he said. “I mean, how could you have a cricket World Cup without spectators. A World Cup is all about big crowds, spectators coming from all parts of the globe to support their teams. It’s about atmosphere and you cannot get it behind closed doors. “So I believe that the (ICC) should wait for a more suitable time and once this pandemic subsides and restrictions are eased then we can have a proper World Cup.”