|Event:||ICC World Twenty20 2009|
DateLine: 16th June 2009
Pakistan captain Younus Khan said the additional scrutiny his team had been placed under at the World Twenty20 because of ball-tampering allegations was "embarrassing".
Fast bowler Umar Gul's feat in taking a Twenty20 international record five wickets in a comprehensive victory over New Zealand last weekend was soon mired in controversy after the Black Caps made an informal complaint regarding the state of the ball.
However, no action was taken after match officials satisfied themselves there had been no foul play although that did not stop umpires Rudi Koertzen and Rod Tucker making repeated spot checks at the Oval on Monday as Pakistan beat Ireland by 39 runs to book their place in the World Twenty20 semi-finals.
"We're not cheating and today was very embarrassing with the umpires checking the ball all the time," Younus told reporters.
"Sometimes it is very embarrassing because there are a lot of cameras so how can we cheat?"
It was at the Oval three years ago that Pakistan became the first side in history to forfeit a Test match when Australian umpire Darrell Hair, supported by West Indian colleague Billy Doctrove, penalised them five runs for ball-tampering.
Although they were subsequently cleared at an International Cricket Council hearing, their first visit to England since 2006 has seen them plunged into fresh controversy.
"Why does this happen all the time in England?" asked Younus. "Don't talk about a bowler like Umar Gul because he has a good reputation. Why is it always about Pakistan?
"I think we should forget about this thing and just focus on the game. There are a lot of cameras so why didn't the cameras catch us doing something?
"In this cricket there are a lot of sixes and the ball goes into the crowd a lot so the ball changes like that. It is an art actually, it's not cheating."
Younus indicated he felt New Zealand's complaint might be a case of sour grapes.
"Everyone has their own opinion, especially when you lose a game like that. New Zealand have a good reputation around the world and they are upset about getting out cheaply.
"I still believe for reverse swing you need pace and a good action and he (Gul) has a good action."
Defeat ended the involvement in this World Twenty20 of Ireland, the last non-Test nation left in the tournament.
But having beaten Bangladesh - a side they defeated along with Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean - and then run Sri Lanka close before losing by nine runs on Sunday, Ireland captain William Porterfield was proud of the way his side had performed.
"I think we've learnt an awful lot," he said. "We've shown and reinforced that we can compete with these sides and hold them to respectable totals and really put pressure on them.
"I think with the bat we've learnt a lot of things and looking at these teams and playing against them, that we've got to make a step up in class."
"The lads have seen what level we have to be at and hopefully we'll be better prepared for the next Twenty20."
Younus has repeatedly said that this format is all about entertainment and enjoyment for spectators.
But he stressed he was utterly determined Pakistan, who lost the inaugural World Twenty20 final by five runs to arch-rivals India in Johannesburg two years ago, go all the way at this event.
"Only two games more and we win the World Twenty20. This is still good fun for the crowd, but everybody knows I am very serious about my cricket."
(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)