How dare you accuse us of ball-tampering Bob Willis, says Ashley Giles

Image courtesy of: The Telegraph

Giles denied all the claims made by Willis

England limited overs coach Ashley Giles has slammed former captain Bob Willis over the ball-tampering remarks he made on Sky Sports during the national team’s Champions Trophy loss to Sri Lanka on June 13.

 Willis claimed that England had been tampering with the ball throughout the tournament, but Giles was quick to deny the claim, stating that the team did not have to cheat to win.

“Let’s not beat about the bush – Aleem Dar is on England’s case,” Willis said. “He knows that one individual is scratching the ball for England – who I am not going to name – and that’s why the ball was changed.”

Giles was also quick to launch a counter attack against Willis.

“We don’t tamper with the ball and I hope we can talk about something else,” he said. “It is disappointing because we have a huge game, a quarter-final must-win, and there are a lot of headlines about the wrong stuff.

“With the situation the other day, the ball was changed because it had gone out of shape. We asked the question, the captain asked that question to the umpires which he has a right to. The ball was changed, the rest is history.

“I guess we always take allegations seriously. People have the right to say what they say, we can’t stop them. It sounds boring, but we have to focus on what we want to do. The most important thing is winning cricket matches and not what Bob Willis says.”

The incident occurred during the 26th over of Sri Lanka’s innings when the umpires changed the ball.

An International Cricket Council (ICC) spokesman confirmed that the ball was changed since it had become misshapen.

Willis noted that the umpires would have never used a misshapen ball and that the only explanation remaining for the ball changing shape during the match was that the team had been tampering with it.

“Have you ever heard of the batting side complaining about the shape of the ball, or the umpires saying ‘we’re going to change the ball because it’s out of shape’?” Willis said. “The bowling side change the ball because it’s out of shape because they think it’s gone soft. That’s the reason, pure and simple. How naive does Alastair Cook think we are? The ball was changed because it was out of shape? He didn’t want the ball changed, so why was it changed?”

England’s Ravi Bopara was named as the culprit, but Giles immediately defended him, saying: “There is even mention of one of our player’s specific roles and that player is an extremely good cricketer and has had an extremely good series so far and we would like to let him concentrate on playing his cricket as best as he can.”

Giles also insisted that England had done nothing illegal to make the ball reverse swing.

“The one big thing about this tournament so far, particularly at Edgbaston where we did get reverse swing, is how dry the squares are,” Giles said. “That is a mixture of the amount of watering you are allowed to do, the new drainage systems, which saps the moisture out of the squares, and the amount of wickets that have been cut on those squares because there have been practice games and a number of internationals played on those squares.

“There are loads of different methods. At Edgbaston we were probably bowling cross-seamers as early as the third or fourth over. From the boundary you go for a throw on the bounce because not everybody can throw it in on the full from 70 metres and that is permitted by the regulations, to bounce it in once.”

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