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Younis plays down Akhtar ball incident
by AFP


Player:Younis Khan, Shoaib Akhtar
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 6th September 2006

 

Pakistan vice-captain Younis Khan insisted too much had been made of an incident showing team-mate Shoaib Akhtar working on the ball during the tourists' two-wicket win in the third one-day international win over England here at the Rose Bowl.

 

Pictures screened by host broadcaster Sky Television showed fast bowler Akhtar flicking at the ball with his left thumb as he walked back to his mark.

 

However, umpires Nigel Llong of England and West Indies' Billy Doctrove having reviewed the footage alongside match referee Mike Procter, did not take any action.

 

"In my eyes it looked like he was picking some dust," Younis, named man-of-the-match for his 101, told reporters.

 

"Why do we make it a big issue every time the ball is reverse swinging?

 

"In the last 20 years it has been made a big issue but to me it is a small issue, cricket is a gentleman's game so let's make it simple.

 

"Reverse swing is happening all the time - Australia do it, England did it in the Ashes last year - because pitches are dry, everybody is used to it in these conditions."

 

Pakistan forfeited the fourth Test against England last month having refused to take the field following the fourth day tea interval at The Oval in protest at being penalised five runs for "ball-tampering" earlier in the day.

 

Disciplinary charges arising from that match against Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq have still to be heard although he, his team-mates and the Pakistan management have continued to protest his innocence.

 

But on Monday International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed warned Pakistan they risked fresh charges if they continued to break the global governing body's code of conduct by making public comments about Inzamam's case in advance of the hearing, due to take place later this month.

 

The Oval forfeit saw Pakistan lose the Test series 3-0. But it has been a different story in the one-dayers where Tuesday's victory under the Rose Bowl floodlights left Pakistan 2-0 up in the five-match series.

 

Younis's hundred, which came up off 105 balls with one six and 13 fours was only his second one-day international century in 137 matches and first against a Test nation after his 144 against Hong Kong at Colombo in 2004.

 

But it is only recently that the 28-year-old right-hander, who had batted at No 6, has nailed down the same No 3 berth he has in Test cricket where his impressive average is currently just a shade under fifty.

 

"It was a big hundred because against England it's a dream come true," said Younis. "But for me the most important thing is that the team wins. If I make 50 or 60 and the team wins then I am still happy.

 

"This (No 3) is a good position for me as it gives me time."

 

Defeat was England's seventh in eight one-day international matches - the other was washed out - this home season.

 

But they did at least give Pakistan more of a contest Tuesday by posting 271 for nine, a total featuring fifties from Jamie Dalrymple (62), Paul Collingwood (61) and captain Andrew Strauss (50).

 

England then sparked a late order collapse that saw Pakistan wobble before the tourists won with seven balls to spare.

 

"We can take a lot of positives out of today's (Tuesday's) game," all-rounder Collingwood said. "The way we scrapped all the way through was a really good effort."

 

The series continues Friday at Trent Bridge with another day/night clash.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)



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