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'England used binoculars to monitor Pak players'

Former coach Duncan Fletcher revealed the English team used binoculars to monitor Pakistani cricketers during the controversial Oval Test last year.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, London
UPDATED ON OCT 30, 2007 09:02 PM IST

Former coach Duncan Fletcher revealed the English team used binoculars to monitor Pakistani cricketers, suspecting that they indulged in ball tampering during the controversial Oval Test last year.

In his autobiography "Behind the Shades", which is being serialised in 'Daily Mail', Fletcher also sided with controversial Australian umpire Darrell Hair, who had penalised Pakistan for ball tampering, which prompted the visitors to walk out and eventually forfeit the match.

"We were interested in what the Pakistanis were doing with the ball. We could not understand how they were able to get it to reverse swing so early in the innings. With the lush outfields it had been a problem for us all series.

"Using binoculars, we began examining the Pakistanis closely in the field because we thought we had picked something up," Fletcher said.

"It seemed that for the first 15 to 20 overs of our innings every Pakistan player was shining the ball on both sides probably to get rid of the lacquer quickly and make the leather soft. And after that period only a couple of players seemed to be entrusted with the duty," he added.

Fletcher said he went to the umpires to watch the ball but Hair told him "I'm not going to show you the ball,", though the official added "but we've got a handle on it and are monitoring the situation."

Fletcher also recalled attending a meeting where Hair "completely lost his temper."

"Inzamam, the Pakistan captain, asked him why his side were being accused. 'You know what was going on out there,' said Hair sternly and got up and left," Fletcher wrote.

Fletcher was also critical of the treatment meted out to Hair, who was eventually dropped from ICC's elite list of match officials.

"(Billy) Doctrove backed him to the hilt but it was Hair who copped all the flak. That was unfair and doubtless it will mean that from now on umpires will not want to make the big decisions. That is not good for the game," he said.

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