England news October 3, 2011

We haven't tampered with the ball - Cook

England's one-day captain Alastair Cook has rubbished claims by Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul that James Anderson and Stuart Broad were involved in ball tampering. Cook said if Gul did have any concerns he should have gone through the proper channels.

Gul hit the headlines after giving an interview in Karachi, where he suggested he had seen examples of ball tampering and mentioned seeing Anderson and Broad using various techniques. However, he later tried to step back from controversy by saying he was only talking about the England pair in relation to natural wear that develops on a ball by throwing it across the outfield.

"We certainly haven't tampered with the ball and if he did have any complaints he should have gone to the ICC over that," Cook said at Heathrow airport ahead of England's departure for their one-day series in India. "I think he has almost said himself that it has been a bit of a mountain out of a molehill."

In a statement to Pakpassion.net, where Gul's original comments first appeared, he clarified his remarks. "I was explaining that the ball gets scratched when it is thrown against the rough surface or hits the advertisement boards along the boundary rope. In this manner, I said, every bowler can be accused of doing it."

Gul made his earlier comments in an interview where he talked about the art of reverse swing and how various elements of ball tampering shouldn't be included with the laws. "Leave cricket with its traditional ways rather than making changes that would take all the charm out of it," he said.

The recent change to using a separate ball from either end during one-day internationals, which will be implemented for the first time when Bangladesh play West Indies, could impact the role of reverse swing during 50-over matches. Under the previous regulations the ball was changed after 34 overs and the period shortly before the switch was when the fast bowlers would sometimes start to get the ball to reverse. However, with neither ball having no more than 25 overs of wear it will be harder for the natural deterioration to take place.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo