Pakistan news October 2, 2011

Gul opposed to legalising ball tampering

Umar Gul, the Pakistan fast bowler, has claimed ball tampering is not new to cricket and that there are legal and illegal methods to change the condition of the ball. He was also opposed to legalising ball tampering, in contrast to Shoaib Akhtar, who wrote in his recent autobiography that it wasn't a bad idea to "set rules" for tampering.

"The claims [of ball tampering] have always emerged against Pakistan but have never been proved," Gul told reporters at National Cricket Stadium in Karachi. "There are many ways to tamper with the ball that are illegal, like using your nail, but there are other ways to change the condition that are legal. A player can throw the ball on the bounce to make it rough or the ball can be damaged when it hits the advertising boards on the boundary."

During the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009, Gul's ability to reverse-swing the ball early had drawn concern from the New Zealand camp but he shrugged it off. Gul did not think ball tampering should be made legal, though, saying it would make it too easy to bowl reverse swing, which is an art, and some of the beauty of the game would be lost if the practice was legalised. "I don't think the way is to legalise it. Leave cricket with its traditional ways rather than making changes that would take all the charm out of it."

Gul also responded to comments in Akhtar's autobiography about Sachin Tendulkar being afraid of the former Pakistan fast bowler. "I can't say specifically that I saw Tendulkar running away from Shoaib, but no one can deny that when Shoaib was at his fastest and best the world's best batsmen were nervous against him and there is no batsmen who is not nervous or ruffled when facing a pure fast bowler," Gul said. "Even Brian Lara, who I rate as the world's best batsman, admitted to feeling ruffled when he was hit on the helmet by a bouncer from Shoaib."

Pakistan leave for the UAE on October 15 to take on Sri Lanka in two Tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20s, and Gul, who was rested for the tour of Zimbabwe, is likely to be back in the squad. "I am all fit but need a flow for which I have to have lengthy bowling spells," Gul said. "I am bowling regularly and will be playing first-class cricket. If selected, I will train in the nets to quickly get back my form."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

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