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Aussies oppose abolition of ball-tampering laws

Published: Wednesday, August 30, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Coolum: Australia's cricketers are opposed to a Pakistan proposal to abolish the laws on ball tampering.

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer has called for the existing rules to be scrapped after his captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was charged with ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute for forfeiting the final Test against England.

Woolmer has received the vocal backing of several former test players, including Australia's Jeff Thompson, but Australia's current players believe the rules should not be changed.

''I don't agree we should scrap the rule,'' fast bowler Glenn McGrath told reporters at a training camp. ''The umpires out in the middle have to call it as they see it.'' McGrath also backed Australian umpire Darrell Hair, who has been vilified in parts of Asia and Britain for his role in the ball-tampering crisis.

Accepting the umpire's decision is an integral part of cricket and McGrath said the authorities needed to support their umpires to ensure that most basic of principles survives.

''They have to be given the confidence to call it as they see it and be backed in their decisions,'' he said.

Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist, regarded as one of the standard bearers of fair play and sportsmanship after walking in a World Cup semi-final, agrees.

''It's a grey area but I think the rules are pretty close to doing an adequate job,'' he said.

''At the end of the day, part of the spirit is that the umpire's decision is final and that's the standards we set as a team.'' Ball tampering, which is commonly associated with reverse swing, is perceived as one of cricket's great sins because it amounts to cheating.

REVERSE SWING

Opening batsman Justin Langer said Australia's batsmen had often been surprised when opposition bowlers were able to make the ball reverse swing but always gave them the benefit of the doubt.

''There's been times in my career when I thought that's unusual when the ball's been reverse swinging, but maybe I've just been using that as an excuse for getting out,'' he said.

''That's the beauty of the game of cricket, unusual things happen. At the end of the day I think the crucial element of reverse swing bowling is the abrasive surface of the wicket.'' England credited the ability of their seamers to bowl reverse swing as one of the crucial factors behind their upset Ashes win over Australia last year.

But Langer said he would be very surprised if the English bowlers were able to make the ball reverse in the next series in Australia.

''Yes it had an effect in England, there's no doubt about it, but the conditions were suitable,'' he said.

''As long as I've been playing the game in Australia it's never been an issue. If it happens, it happens but we'll have to deal with it.''

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