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Cricket: It's OK to tamper, says Afridi; CRICKET: Reports say coach Fletcher went to see match referee before start of play.

PAKISTAN all-rounder Shahid Afridi claimed earlier this year that reverse swing could only be achieved by ball-tampering, it has emerged.

Afridi, said after Pakistan's 4-1 one-day series defeat to India in February that ball-tampering, chiefly to aid reverse swing, was common practice.

Afridi, who was left out of the side at The Oval, told Indian newspaper Times Now: "You have to tamper with the ball in order to make it swing.

"If the weather is dry and it is very hot, and the pitch is hard, then you can get some help from the pitch.

"But even then you have to 'make' the ball. Otherwise, the ball doesn't reverse swing."

Afridi suggested that specific fielders would be primed for the purpose and grow long finger nails.

He added: "Those who knew about tampering at that time, used to do it. And the kind of cricket that is going on these docile pitches, it spells death for the bowlers if you don't tamper with the ball.

"If any team does tamper with the ball, then I don't think there's anything wrong because it's a torture for the bowlers to bowl on these wickets. You should be allowed to tamper the ball after the 30th or 40th over."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 22, 2006
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