No issues with Gul's bowling, officials told Vettori
Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, made an informal approach to match officials in regards to the bowling of Umar Gul, the Pakistan paceman, after Saturday's ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights match at The Oval, and was told there was no issue with it.
Vettori raised eyebrows when he told reporters after the match he had never before seen a bowler achieve reverse swing after 12 overs of a Twenty20 match. He then sought out Ranjan Madugalle, the match referee, to ask whether he was satisfied Gul swung the ball legitimately.
Gul became the first bowler in the four-year history of Twenty20 international cricket to claim five wickets in an innings. His three over spell of 5 for 6 entranced the New Zealand batsmen, none of whom looked comfortable against his full line and prodigious swing.
"It was an informal approach where Daniel Vettori sought clarification from the match officials about Gul's reverse swing," Stephen Hill, the New Zealand media manager, told Cricinfo. "They said there was no issue. The matter now rests."
After New Zealand's six-wicket defeat Vettori said he was surprised by the movement Gul achieved. "I've never, ever seen someone reverse the ball after 12 overs. He obviously bowled really well. He got the ball to reverse, and I don't think in the history of Twenty20 cricket anyone's got the ball to reverse. I really don't know (how). It's the first time I've ever seen it happen."
Initikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach, said he was disappointed by Vettori's questioning of Gul's reverse swing. "It is disappointing to hear these things. Umar is a fantastic bowler." "Not everyone can bowl a reverse ball. You've got to have a special ability to do that. He's quick and his action makes a lot of difference."
There was also strong criticism from Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, over Vettori's comments. "I didn't expect it from a cricketer like Vettori," he told Cricinfo. "I have a lot of respect for him, but he made a statement which is uncalled for. [Gul] would never do a thing like this."
Geoff Lawson, the former Pakistan coach, was commentating on Saturday's match at The Oval and noted that several New Zealand pacemen achieved subtle reverse swing towards the end of their innings.
"My first reaction after reading [Vettori's] comments was of being pretty disappointed," Lawson told Cricinfo. "It sounded as if an issue was being made just because the New Zealand batsmen couldn't play him. There was no great mystery to what he was doing. He was bowling it nice and full and getting it to go just enough, not metres.
"I was commentating the game, and we were noting on air that some of the New Zealand bowlers were getting it to go a little bit reverse when they were bowling full towards the end of their innings. Gul was the best bowler at the last World Twenty20 and it's pretty disappointing for New Zealand to have made an unofficial approach. It seems Pakistan carry the cross for these kinds of things."
Alex Brown is deputy editor of cricket and Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor