England in tampering row
Bob Willis alleges players scratched ball Cardiff: England have found themselves at the centre of a tampering row after former captain Bob Willis...
Bob Willis alleges players scratched ball Cardiff: England have found themselves at the centre of a tampering row after former captain Bob Willis accused them of scratching the ball. The alleged incident took place during England's seven-wicket Champions Trophy one-day international defeat by Sri Lanka at The Oval on Thursday when Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar and his New Zealand on-field colleague Billy Bowden ordered one of the balls in use to be changed while the Lankans were batting. "Let's not beat about the bush - Aleem Dar is on England's case," Willis told Saturday's edition of the Sun tabloid. "He knows that one individual is scratching the ball for England - who I am not going to name - and that's why the ball was changed," insisted Willis, one of England's greatest fast bowlers. "Have you ever heard about the batting side or the umpire complaining about the shape of the ball?" added Willis, one of only four England bowlers to have taken 300 Test wickets. Under current rules for one-day internationals, two white balls are in use for each innings. Balls can be changed for legitimate reasons, such as being knocked out of shape as a result of forceful hits by batsmen, and are often done so at the request of the fielding side. However, on Thursday it appeared that it was Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara who complained about the condition of the ball when his side were 119 for two at the halfway stage of their reply to England's seemingly imposing 293 for seven. England were unhappy as their attack was starting to gain reverse swing, which was key to their opening victory over Australia and is aided by natural wear and tear of the ball, with captain Alastair Cook leading the protests. However, the replacement ball moved little and Sangakkara went on to complete a superb unbeaten hundred to guide Sri Lanka to victory. After the match, Cook said: "The ball was changed because it was out of shape. The umpires make these decisions and you have to accept them. Sometimes you don't think they are the right decisions." But Willis, an England captain in the early 1980s, told the Sun: "How naive does Alastair Cook think we are? He didn't want the ball changed. So why was it changed? Giles, Anderson 'hurt' by accusations Cardiff: England bowler James Anderson has responded to the claims by former captain-turned pundit Bob Willis of ball tampering, labelling them "very disappointing and frustrating" while categorically denying the team are guilty of any wrongdoing. England coach Ashley Giles refuted those claims on Saturday as England prepared to take on New Zealand in their final Champions Trophy group game as they bid to make the semifinal stages. Anderson told the Mail on Sunday: "As a team we're really surprised by his comments. Even though there's nothing to them whatsoever they could stick for a while to us, which isn't wanted, needed of helpful. "It's come as a very unwelcome distraction and, frankly, we could do without allegations such as these. "It's very disappointing and frustrating that anyone, but especially a former England captain, should say these things, especially when we're preparing for a massive game. "The fact is people can think what they like. We know the truth, I can state categorically that no one in the England team has ever tampered with a ball and we won't allow comments made by someone like Bob Willis to worry us." Anderson recently broke Darren Gough's record to become England's leading One-Day International wicket taker, surpassing his tally of 234 in the victory against Australia. A further two wickets in the defeat to Sri Lanka sees him currently on 239 wickets as he prepares to face the Kiwi's �in a must win game for the hosts, but the original controversy arose when he started to get the ball to reverse swing against Sri Lanka until the umpires decided the ball was mis-shaped and changed to a new ball.