Representative image of a left-arm bowler in his bowling action during practice. (AFP)
Karachi: Pakistan's former captain and coach Mushtaq Mohammad cannot understand the recent "hue and cry" over ball-tampering as he feels every team and bowler has indulged in it in some form or the other, including he himself.
"Everyone does it and every team has done it, so I am surprised at the hue and cry being raised over the ball-tampering incident during the Test between Pakistan and South Africa," Mushtaq told Geo Super channel from London.
"Even spinners tend to try to pick the seam of the ball to get a better grip, and I admit I did it a few times myself when I was playing and this is also tampering," he said.
"Every team is now doing it, but at the end of the day just tampering with the ball in any way does not guarantee that bowlers can get wickets and quick success. Reverse swing is a skill which few bowlers have mastered until now," he said.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has written a letter to the ICC complaining about the light penalty given by match referee David Boon to South African batsman Faf Du Plessis despite him being caught on camera and later admitting to ball-tampering.
Many in the Pakistan cricket community have also laughed at the 50 per cent match fee fine imposed by Boon on Plessis. "Yes, the punishment given to Plessis was just not in line with the offence he had committed and the ICC needs to look at their laws governing ball-tampering offences," Mushtaq said.
Mushtaq said the incidents seen on television during the Test in Dubai did raise questions and had sullied the image of the South African team. "But again I want to repeat everyone does it. You can't say it is restricted to a particular team," he said.
Pakistan's former captain Aamir Sohail said he couldn't understand the furore being raised by incident as the referee had penalised du Plessis under the ICC laws governing ball-tampering.
"And the fact is that every law that is passed has to be approved by the ICC's executive board of which every country is a member, including Pakistan. So if there were any concerns about the laws governing ball-tampering, they should have been raised at the ICC meeting then," he said.
Sohail conceded that even he felt the fine imposed on du Plessis was not enough. "But I would suggest that the ICC can allow the fielding team to take a new ball after 60 overs instead of the present 80 overs. This will discourage and reduce ball-tampering incidents," he said.
Pakistan's former Test pacer Sarfaraz Nawaz said bowlers and fielders try to roughen up even the new ball. "But at the end of the day, you need skill to take wickets and reverse swing with a ball that is about 40 to 50 overs old because it becomes soft. But if the ball is tampered with in early overs, it is more difficult for the batsmen as the ball is hard and comes off the pitch at greater pace," Nawaz said.