Pakistan bowler's claims 'nonsense': Test star's counsel mocks 'technique'

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The Independent Online
CLAIMS by the former Pakistan cricket star Sarfraz Nawaz that he had mastered a technique to enable the ball to be bowled with reverse swing were 'complete nonsense', counsel for the England batsman Allan Lamb told the High Court yesterday.

David Eady QC, was opening the 39-year-old Test cricketer's defence to a libel action brought by Mr Nawaz, the 44- year-old medium-pace bowler, over an article that appeared in the Daily Mirror in August 1992.

Mr Nawaz says Mr Lamb was lying for money when he claimed that the Pakistani showed him 12 years ago, when they were county team mates, how to make an old ball swing by gouging it with his nails and smearing the surface with sweat to fool the umpire.

He maintains that Mr Lamb's article described him as a cheat who had passed on the 'trick' to the controversial 1992 Pakistani touring side.

Mr Eady dismissed as 'complete nonsense' Mr Nawaz's evidence that his 'technique' of polishing just one side of an old ball with sweat would achieve the dramatic results achieved by Pakistan during last year's tests. 'Sweat and polishing are commonplace techniques for swing bowlers through the generations. They can't possibly account for reverse swing - the very powerful weapon of the Pakistanis in recent years.

'What's new is one thing only - gouging the side of the ball to speed up the roughening process and affect its aero- dynamics,' he said.

During the Test series, the England players had complained regularly about ball- tampering, but nothing was done. They kept their mouths firmly shut in public as they were bound to do under the rules of the Test and County Cricket Board.

But Mr Lamb, who had captained Northants since 1989 and been vice-captain and captain of England, was no longer prepared to stay silent after the Pakistani team claimed after a one-day international that the ball had been changed because it had gone out of shape.

'The truth was that the ball was changed because it had been gouged in blatant disregard of the rules,' Mr Eady said.

The hearing continues