Harare: Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has been found guilty of ball tampering in the first Test against Zimbabwe, Match Referee Clive Lloyd said on Wednesday.
Lloyd confirmed the umpires had reported the matter to him and there was agreement that Shoaib had changed the condition of the ball illegally during the match, which ended with Pakistan’s 119-run victory on Tuesday with a day to spare.
“The umpires and I inspected the ball and it was clear to us that it had been scratched,” Lloyd said. Lloyd replied in the affirmative when asked whether the guilty player was Shoaib, adding, “We have severely reprimanded him.” He said no further action would be taken.
The Pakistani team management was not immediately available for comment.
Umpires Srinivas Venkatraghavan and Dave Orchard had two discussions with Pakistan captain Waqar Younis and Shoaib before and after lunch on Tuesday over the condition of the ball.
Shoaib left the field immediately after the second discussion, which followed his 14th over. He returned to bowl the penultimate over before tea.
The Pakistani pacer finished with a match haul of seven for 118.
Meanwhile, in Sydney, former Match Referee Barry Jarman has said the International Cricket Council (ICC) was ducking the “chucking” issue, which he believes, is endemic to the game.
The former Australian Test wicketkeeper said he had once reported Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralidharan for a suspect action and as a result never again officiated in a match involving Sri Lanka. Australian umpire Darrel Hair will officiate in his first Sri Lanka match this southern summer since the final of the one-day triangular series in 1995-96.
That was the same season Hair no-balled Muralidharan seven times in three overs in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Muralidharan is the most high-profile “chucking” case, but he is not the only bowler to have fallen foul of the chucking rule.
Cricket’s laws state the bowling arm must not straighten in delivery, but Jarman is convinced such movement is rife. “There are a lot of them around in almost all the sides now. All the players know about them. Right now, as the law stands, they do not bowl legally,” Jarman said in a magazine article Wednesday. “If he (Muralidharan) and others partially straighten their arm it’s illegal.
“I knew it was going to happen, but it’s too hot to handle. You bring it up in a meeting and they (the ICC) don’t want to know about it.”
Jarman, who was a Match Referee through to the 2000-01 season and handled Sri Lanka’s Test series in New Zealand in 1994-95, said: “I’ve never been asked to do a game involving Sri Lanka since.”
Muralidharan and Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar have been reported in the past but were found to have abnormalities in their bowling arm which led to their actions appearing suspect.