England news June 28, 2013

Tampering allegations 'unacceptable' - Bopara

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ravi Bopara has described Bob Willis' accusations of ball-tampering by England during the Champions Trophy as "annoying, sad and depressing".

Willis, the former England captain, claimed England had been scratching the ball to promote reverse-swing during their defeat to Sri Lanka at The Oval. The England coach, Ashley Giles, issued a firm denial at the time and now Bopara has also rubbished the allegation.

"We were doing well in that tournament and I felt it was unacceptable to make that sort of noise," Bopara told the London Evening Standard. "It was annoying, sad and depressing, especially in the middle of a global competition.

"When England are doing well, why does something negative have to come from it? Why not just get on the wave with England and enjoy it?"

Willis, as a pundit on Sky Sports, claimed that an unnamed England player was scratching the ball after it was changed during the group match defeat to Sri Lanka at The Oval - officially because it had gone out of shape. Willis said umpire Aleem Dar was "on England's case" after Dar and his colleague Billy Bowden had initiated a ball change that England appeared unhappy with.

Bopara was often responsible for looking after the condition of the ball, so an allegation of tampering could be regarded as a personal slight. But the ICC saw no reason in the umpire's report of the match for any investigation.

England found great success with reverse swing during their victory over Australia at Edgbaston - which George Bailey said he had been "very surprised" at - but struggled without any reverse movement against Sri Lanka. It was conventional swing that aided them in victories over New Zealand at Cardiff and in the semi-final against South Africa.

"We've learned over the last 12-18 months that we need to look after the white ball as well as we do the red ball," Bopara said. "We discussed as a team how we were going to shine it. You have to look after them to make them 'talk'.

"You want that seam to be standing up as long as possible; you want one side to be very smooth, which helps with lateral movement. If you can make the red ball swing, you should be able to do the same with the white one."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 30, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Umpires never reported any such thing. and ball change is very common practice whenever umpire feel the ball is out of shape they do change it. Bob is someone who do come up with this kind of things regularly.

    and if i am not wrong he did start same type of thing when england toured UAE against ajmal when icc had already cleared him. but strangely to some people , bob's words that time were very much authentic. and not today

  • John on June 30, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    Stuart - I think Ravi used far too many words - I'd have just used "depressing"!

  • farah on June 29, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    All the debate on this topic is useless as the tournament is now over and if there was a case of ball tempering ICC would have taken some action against England by now. I have not heard any other former player support Willis' views, if so then his lone opinion does not carry that much weight. This matter can be resolved permanently if ICC just issues a simple statement giving the official reason for change of ball.

  • Karun on June 29, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    I believe Willis made a presumptuous jump in his conclusion, but I think the umpire probably did too. Obviously after the incident involving d hair no umpire would want to admit to that. But all this is dead & buried, why put up another article after the tournament is over?

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    I normally enjoy Bob Willis commentary but I was saddened to hear him thinking out loud before he had all the evidence!

  • John on June 29, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    I'm genuinely surprised Sky haven't either sacked Willis or made him apologise.

    In football (think it was 2012) Keyes and Gray were sacked despite their remarks re a female official being off air and depite the fact that they apologised for the remarks and despite the remarks seemingly causing no offence to the lady in question. Rod Marsh (the footballer) was also sacked for a throwaway remark.

    Seems there are double standards at Sky. I think Willis is possibly the worst of the Sky team anyway

  • Dummy4 on June 29, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    England used perfectly legal ways of maintaining the ball - throwing it in from the deep on the bounce and having a good shiner. Willis just doesn't like the fact that they are a far better ODI side than the one that he was a part of.

  • Stuart on June 29, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    "Annoying, sad and depressing." I never had Ravi down as much of a word-smith, but that's an extraordinarily neat summing up of Willis's commentary career.

  • Hussain on June 28, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    Look the umpire decided to change the ball because he felt it was out of shape and as there was no proof of ball tampering he took it at being just an anomaly, just a crap ball, end of. Now big Bob just took that to mean there was definite ball tampering only by what he saw, he was just plain wrong, that's all. Take it from a Pakistan fan your lucky, if it had been our team, firstly the umpire would have took the ball, then awarded runs to the batting team as the ball had been tampered with whether he saw any evidence or not and obviously it would led in every paper, with out a doubt.

  • Dummy4 on June 28, 2013, 22:21 GMT

    What is the point in discussing this issue after the tournament is over. If any thing England would have done then it is the duty of on field umpires to check the ball. If they do not find the problem then what is the problem of Willis??? How can he be so sure that England has tampered the ball.

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