The cricketing world can’t stop raving about the collective efforts of India’s pace trio – Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj – following their hostile spell of bowling against Sri Lanka in the World Cup 2023 match at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. Shami, Bumrah and Siraj were breathing fire, combining to scalp 9 out of the 10 wickets which skittled Sri Lanka for their second-lowest ODI total of 55 in chase of 359. The India pace troika now has taken a total of 38 wickets between them. If that isn’t the best pace attack going around in the world right now, not sure what is.
But while Shami, Siraj and Bumrah have captured the imagination of a plethora of former cricketers and garnered praises from them for their spellbound bowling yesterday, there are those who continue to belittle their efforts. Hasan Raza, the former Pakistan cricketer, who is no stranger to controversies, has levelled a strong allegation against the Indian team, accusing them of foul play. Raza believes that the ICC and the BCCI are favouring the Indian team by delivering special balls and urged the matter to be looked into.
“We are seeing that when they are batting, they bat really well and suddenly the ball starts doing things when India bowl. There have been 7-8 close DRS calls that have gone in their favour. The way Siraj and Shami were swinging the ball, it seemed like the ICC or the BCCI were giving them different and suspicious balls in the second innings. There needs to be an inspection done on the ball. There could also be an extra layer of coating on the ball for swing,” Raza said while speaking to a channel called ABN.
“India had three fielders in place and even KL Rahul was standing long behind the stumps. It means that the ball had that hardness even after so many overs. Shami picked 5 wickets for some 18 runs, Siraj got 3. I can’t imagine that these are international batters and they’re all getting out playing across. It’s almost as if the ball that is used earlier vanishes. So I supposed this should be looked into.”
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Raza, who played 7 Tests and 16 ODIs for Pakistan as a batter between 1996 and 2005, has been previously embroiled in controversies himself. In 2018, the former Pakistan batter was caught on camera in alleged spot-fixing sting by an undercover Al Jazeera reporter. In the videos, he was recorded being in the same frame as former Mumbai cricketer Robin Morris, who was talking about the existence of spot fixing in T20 tournaments.
It was in 1996 at the age of 14 that Raza made his historic debut for the Pakistan, etching his name in the record books as the youngest player to grace Test cricket. He participated in 23 international games before stepping away in 2005. Raza’s true cricketing prowess shone brightly in the domestic arena, where he boasted an impressive resume. He featured in an astounding 232 First-Class matches under his belt, complemented by 197 one-day matches and 36 T20s.