Liam Plunkett has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the International Cricket Council (ICC) following allegations he had tampered with the ball during the second ODI against Pakistan. In the video that did the rounds on social media, Plunkett appears to be scratching the ball at The Rose Bowl, Southampton on Saturday (May 11). The alleged tampering could have been done to generate reverse swing in the death overs.
“The ICC has confirmed that the match officials are comfortable there was no attempt by Liam Plunkett to change the condition of the ball or any evidence of this on the over-by-over examinations of the ball throughout Saturday’s ODI clash in Southampton,” said a statement issued by the global governing body on Sunday (May 12).
Plunkett himself is reported to have raised the issue with officials after becoming aware of the allegations and he has since been exonerated fully by umpires Chris Gaffaney and Paul Reiffel, with the agreement of match referee Richie Richardson.
The English fast bowler bowled the penultimate over in which he conceded 8 runs and picked up the wicket of Faheem Ashraf. Overall the 34-year-old conceded 64 runs in the 9 overs he bowled. Apart from Ashraf, he got the wicket of Haris Sohail.
— Waqas Ahmed (@ahmedwaqas92) 12 May 2019
Eventually, the hosts won the match by 12 runs. But if the charges against the English side are brought up and proven, it will be a big blow for hosts who are touted as favourites for the World Cup.
JUST IN: The ICC has confirmed that the match officials are comfortable there was no attempt by Liam Plunkett to change the condition of the ball or any evidence of this on the over-by-over examinations of the ball throughout Saurday’s ODI clash in Southampton. pic.twitter.com/0gzwHq9s4h
— ICC (@ICC) 12 May 2019
England Cricket Board (ECB) are not known for letting players off easy. The most recent example of it is Alex Hales who got dropped from England’s World Cup squad for recreational drug abuse violating his contract.
In 2018, Australia’s Cameron Bancroft was caught on TV tampering with the ball during a Test match against South Africa. Bancroft was banned for 9 months whereas then-skipper Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were handed one-year ban for their involvement in the scandal.