Ball-tampering puts spotlight on Pakistan

KARACHI: All-rounder Shahid Afridi’s ball-tampering in Australia at the weekend has revived suspicions against Pakistani bowlers, former players said on Monday.

The 29-year-old, leading Pakistan in the fifth and final one-day match against Australia in Perth on Sunday, was shown by television cameras apparently biting the ball on a couple of occasions.

The on-field umpires instantly replaced the ball and along with the television umpire reported the matter to International Cricket Council match referee Ranjan Madugalle. After a hearing Madugalle banned Afridi for two Twenty20 matches.

Afridi’s ban has forced the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to appoint Shoaib Malik as captain for the Twenty20 match against Australia in Melbourne on Friday. Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif felt Afridi’s behaviour was regrettable. “Considering the past allegations against Pakistani bowlers, Afridi’s act was a serious mistake,” Latif told AFP. “I think he did it innocently and his apology minimised his punishment.”

Latif, who was part of the 1992 Pakistan team when their pace pair of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were accused of ball-tampering, said Afridi needed to ensure he did not repeat the practice. “Afridi should be very careful in future and must not repeat this act as the spotlight has returned on Pakistan once again,” said Latif.

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