Responds to Barry Jarman's comments August 27, 2006

Woolmer defends reputation


Bob Woolmer can't remember the incident Barry Jarman has talked about © Getty Images
Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, was forced to defend his reputation after it was claimed South African players tampered with the ball when he was in charge of the team 10 years ago.

Woolmer's Pakistan team have been at the centre of the row which began with last weekend's forfeiture of the fourth and final Test, and continued with Darrell Hair's demand for $500,000 to resign in the wake of the uproar.

Now, on the eve of the Twenty20 international against England in Bristol, Woolmer reacted to claims that South African players lifted the seam.

The claims were made by the former ICC match referee Barry Jarman who alleged that during a triangular one-day tournament involving South Africa, Zimbabwe and India in early 1997 a match ball confiscated after just 16 overs - still in Jarman's possession - bears the ravages of tampering by Woolmer's team.

At a loss to recall anything of the sort, Woolmer said: "I just cannot, and do not, understand why Barry Jarman has said this. As far as I'm concerned, it's fiction.

"As far as I know, I don't ever remember a ball being taken off after the 16th over. I surely would have remembered it. I wasn't ball-scratching. I'm the coach. What does he think ... that I teach ball-scratching?"

A mystified Woolmer has even taken the step of contacting the officials in the match he believes is in question - and he reports they are unaware of any wrong-doing. "Go and ask the two umpires in the same game that I'm supposed to have done this," he advised. "They will say that they don't know anything about it."