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Donald not surprised by Akhtar's ball-tampering claims

SA great Allan Donald believes Pakistanis have been tampering with the ball for a while

South Africa pace bowling legend Allan Donald is not surprised over Shoaib Akhtar's claims that almost all Pakistani bowlers tamper with the ball.


South Africa's Allan Donald cleans the ball during training session at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground in December 2004. PIC/Getty Images


"I am pretty sure that they have been doing it for a very long time. He's coming out and saying it now. What's new?" Donald (45) said from South Africa.

"Almost all Pakistani fast bowlers have tampered with the ball. I may be the first one to openly admit to it but everybody is doing it," Shoaib wrote in his autobiography 'Controversially Yours'.

"To be honest, every team in the world tampers with the ball. We probably started it, but today no team is innocent and virtually every fast bowler does it. That is the only way to survive because the wickets are so slow," Shoaib wrote.

Interestingly, in an interview to Cricinfo in 2009, Donald suggested that the International Cricket Council should allow bowlers to "prepare" the ball.

"The ICC would shoot me for saying it but, with the wickets that we play on and the dying breed fast bowlers are becoming on these flatter wickets. I would say we do need some sort of defence mechanism, something to fall back on to say, 'right, we can do this. We can now prepare this ball to go," Donald told Cricinfo then.

Tongue in cheek
The current South Africa bowling coach stressed to MiD DAY: "I made that comment in England a couple of years ago -- pity for bowlers to play on flat wickets and I did say that ball tampering be made legal. I sort of said it tongue-in-cheek because I knew what sort of response I was going to get."

Donald indicated that Pakistan are masters of the 'art'. "I'm sure we have seen it in the past. When I played against Pakistan, they worked hard on the ball and there was one occasion I remember seeing Waqar Younis giving the ball a real workout and he was caught on television in the United Kingdom.

Look, it is one way of preparing a ball and it's another gig to execute your skill for reverse swing. Pakistan have been unbelievable at that. Wasim Akram was probably the best bowler when the ball was reversing, won so many games and played in conditions which were very tough in the
sub-continent.

About Shoaib's reported comments in the book that Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are not match-winning batsmen, Donald said: "It's a big statement to make. I am not sure I agree with Shoaib on that one. I have seen the little master and Dravid when they were at their absolute best and see India home on several occasions. When India were in all sorts of trouble, they have won games on their own.

"Shoaib might be referring to some times when Sachin was not able to go on. To my mind, they have done exceptionally well under immense pressure and shown their absolute class." Donald has been England and New Zealand's bowling expert before being signed up by the South African board earlier this year. His next challenge is Australia in next month's home one-day and Test series.

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