ENGLAND fast bowler James Anderson has strenuously denied ever having tampered with the ball in the wake of accusations levied against him and team-mate Stuart Broad by Pakistan seamer Umar Gul.
Responding to the confessions of the recently retired Shoaib Akhtar in his explosive autobiography, Gul, a mainstay of the current Pakistan side, claimed: “Quite a few bowlers are doing it [ball tampering] even now.
“Against England last year I saw myself Anderson was doing it. Against Australia, the Ashes that they won, everyone saw, Broad scratched the ball with his shoes. Everyone does this.”
England have recently propelled themselves to the head of the Test team standings largely on the strength of their pace attack, spearheaded by Anderson and Broad, who stand second and fifth in the international Test bowling rankings.
But Anderson has denied England’s rapid ascent has been based on any manipulation of the ball, even if Gul’s comments took him aback to such an extent that he ended up questioning his own integrity.
“It’s an interesting one,” said Anderson, who has been rested from the England side currently touring India. “It made me think ‘have I ever scratched the ball?’
“It’s something that I’ve never done and am not likely to do. I don’t know where it’s come from really.
“I did read the comments where he said that everyone does it but I can safely say nobody in the England team does it. I think [with Stuart] he was referring to where he stopped the ball with his foot during the Ashes.”
Although they received the unequivocal backing of England one-day skipper Alastair Cook last week, it is not the first time Broad and Anderson have been accused of skulduggery.
In January of last year South Africa’s AB de Villiers demanded that England’s “naughty” cricketers be reported and that they were guilty of working on the ball at the second Test in Durban.
Gul attempted to downplay his own accusations last week but with relations between the two sets of players already strained – the trial into allegations of spot-fixing during last summer’s Test series is currently ongoing – this latest episode is sure to add extra spice when the teams renew hostilities in Dubai early next year.
James Anderson was supporting the NatWest OSCAs at Lord's, held annually to reward volunteers and celebrate the unsung heroes of the game. Find out more at natwest.com/cricket.