It appears that ball-tampering ghost has once again hit cricket as a video of England fast bowler Liam Plunkett allegedly tampering with the ball during the second ODI against Pakistan has been doing the rounds on social media. Jos Buttler’s stunning 50-ball century just about proved the difference as England beat Pakistan by 12 runs in a thrilling contest. Fakhar Zaman’s 138 and fifties from Babar Azam and Asif Ali followed by an unbeaten 41 from skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed almost got Pakistan home before a 19 run target in the last over proved too much for the visitors, who finished with 361/7.
There was however a moment during the later part of the Pakistan innings when it looked like Plunkett might have been trying to alter the state of the ball. Plunkett was caught by the cameras scratching at the ball using his nails, possibly to get the ball to reverse swing in the death overs, especially with the likes of Chris Woakes and David Willey bowling. This incident reminded of the sandpaper gate that happened in Cape Town in 2018 when Cameron Bancroft was caught using sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball to help the Australian bowlers generate swing.
It was later revealed that then Australian skipper Steve Smith and vice captain David Warner were also part of the plan. The trio was banned from international cricket by CA after they conducted an inquiry and Bancroft getting a 9-month ban while Smith and Warner were both handed a one-year ban for their involvement in the scandal. The charges against Plunkett, if investigated by the match referee, might find him in troubled waters if proven guilty of tampering with the ball. It could prove to be a massive blow for the World Cup bound England team who have been routed as favourites for the tournament.
Watch the video here: