Former Pakistani cricketer Basit Ali has made explosive claims and accused the Australian bowlers of tampering with the ball in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship (WTC 2023) final against India which got underway on June 7 at the Oval in London.
Australia batted first and put on 469 in their first innings with Travis Head with 163 and Steve Smith with 121 being their main scorers. For India, Mohammed Siraj with four and Mohammad Shami and Shardul Thakur with two wickets each were the pick of bowlers.
In reply, India was reduced to 151/5 at the end of day two’s play with Ravindra Jadeja making 48 and Ajinkya Rahane on 29*. The top order failed to perform with Rohit Sharma (15), Shubman Gill (13), Cheteshwar Pujara (14), and Virat Kohli (14) falling to disciplined Australian bowling.
However, Basit Ali, who played 19 Tests and 50 ODIs for Pakistan from 1993-1996, alleged that Australian bowlers tampered with the ball near the 15th over and used it to their benefit to dismiss two of India's top batters in Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Basit Ali, claims that he is shocked to see no one taking notice of Australia's tactics at The Oval, including officials, commentators, and the Indian batters themselves.
"Firstly, I would clap for those watching the match from the commentary box, and the umpires. Australia played with the ball and no one is talking about it. No batter is wondering 'What is happening?' The biggest example is batters getting bowled while leaving the ball. Let me give you the evidence too. Until the 54th over when Shami was bowling, the shine was on the outside and the ball moved back into Steve Smith. This is not called reverse swing. Reverse swing is when the shine is on the inside and the ball comes back in," Ali said on his YouTube channel.
He further added that overs 16 to 18 were clear evidence of ball tampering while highlighting the dismissals of Kohli and Pujara. During the 18th over of the innings, the ball was changed on the instructions of umpire Richard Kettleborough after it had gone out of shape.
"Look at the 16th, 17th, and 18th over, the ball on which Virat Kohli got out... look at the shine. Mitchell Starc had the ball in his hand with the shiny end pointing outside but the ball was moving the other way. Jadeja was hitting the ball on the on-side and the ball was flying over point. Have the umpires gone blind? God knows who all are sitting there who can't see such a simple thing," Ali pointed out.
Pujara was out bowled while shouldering arms to a pretty straight-forward delivery while Kohli was done in by a vicious bounder from left-armer Starc returning for his second spell. Explaining the mechanism behind the two different balls, Ali stated that there is no way the Dukes reverse-swings before 40 overs.
"Green bowled with the shine pointing towards Pujara and the ball rocketed back in? I am surprised. BCCI is such a big board; can they not see it? It means that you aren't focused on cricket. They are just happy knowing that India has reached the final. Does the ball ever reverse swing in 15-20 overs, Is that too Dukes ball? I understand that a Kookaburra ball can still reverse, but a Dukes ball lasts till 40 overs at least," Ali said.
Ball tampering is a sensitive chapter in the history of Australian cricket following the infamous 'sandpaper gate' in 2018 in which David Warner, Steve Smith, and Cameron Bancroft were found guilty of using sandpaper to change the condition of the ball.
While Warner and Smith got banned for one year, Bancroft was banned for 9 months by Cricket Australia.
(Hindustan Times input)