Cricket: Kiwis try to placate Pakistan

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The Independent Online
THE New Zealand cricket authorities acted yesterday to defuse a row with Pakistan, saying accusations of ball-tampering were jocular and light-hearted. Pakistan were reported to have threatened to call off a week-long tour to New Zealand later this year after comments made earlier this week.

John Knowles, head of sport at Television New Zealand, said cameramen had been offered NZdollars 1,000 (pounds 340) for spotting any Pakistani bowler tampering with the ball. Pakistani bowlers have been alleged to have used bottle-tops to rough up the surface of balls to make them swing in the air.

Pakistan will play three one-day internationals and a five-day Test in New Zealand from 26 December to 6 January. Peter McDermott, the chairman of the New Zealand cricket board of control, said yesterday he had sent a message to the Pakistani cricketing authorities explaining that the 'jocular comments' had been taken out of context. Knowles said reports of his comments 'had no basis of truth'.

Two Australian Test umpires, Peter McConnell and Terry Prue, were yesterday awarded pounds 11,360 damages over an article in a Sydney newspaper written by Sunil Gavaskar and headlined 'Aussie Cheats'.