Wasim Akram questions ~~double standards~~

Published: Thursday, August 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London: Almost 14 years after ball-tampering allegations were leveled against him, Wasim Akram says the world has changed little and while no one bothers to question the English when they get the ball to reverse swing, the Pakistani bowlers continue to be doubted for cheating when they do the same.

''Double standards are still alive and well in Test cricket. I was pleased when England won the Ashes, a result achieved partly because Freddie Flintoff and Simon Jones enjoyed reverse swing, yet nobody asked how they did it,'' Akram told the Daily Mirror here.

''When Pakistan make the old ball swing it's called ball-tampering, but when everyone else does it, it's called reverse swing,'' he added.

Akram said there was no evidence to prove that the Pakistanis had tampered with the ball in the forfeited Oval Test and the whole country was feeling aggrieved by the allegations.

''Everyone here in Pakistan is going berserk the whole country feels insulted and picked on,'' he said.

''I wouldn't dream of accusing England of cheating, especially someone like Freddie, a former Lancashire teammate and a good friend who I respect so much. But I thought the demon of ball-tampering had gone away until Pakistan were accused of it again at The Oval -- even though I've seen no proof to back it up,'' he added.

Wasim said after the 1992 incident, when the seamer and his bowling partner Waqar Younis were accused of ball-tampering by the English, he felt the world had come to understand the art of reverse swing but the Oval incident had proved him wrong.

''It was worse in 1992, when Waqar Younis and I were accused.

They (the English) were moaners and termed it as cheating instead of learning how to achieve reverse swing. We were effectively put on trial in the media and the ICC was too weak to clear us,'' recalled an angry former Pakistan captain.

''Since then I thought there was a greater understanding of reverse swing and how to achieve it -- until the other day at The Oval,'' he added.

The prolific all-rounder rubbished suggestions that the Pakistan team cheated for achieving reverse swing and asserted that it was an art pioneered by his country's bowlers.

''Where reverse swing is concerned, I don't believe we are cheats and the rest of the world is practicing an art form,'' he said.

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