Shoaib gets clean chit from match referee

Akhtar was seen using his thumb to pick off some dust during the third ODI against England.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2006 11:38 IST

Pakistan were spared of another controversy on Tuesday after the ICC Match Referee for their third one-dayer against England cleared fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar of any suspicion of ball tampering.

Akhtar was shown on television "working on the ball" during his second spell of the England innings, and the images immediately brought back memories of the Oval Test which Pakistan forfeited last month after being charged with ball tampering.

But Match Referee Mike Procter later gave a clean chit to the visiting team who won the match at Southampton by two wickets to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

"After viewing television footage, the match umpires (Billy Doctrove and Nigel Llong) have decided no action should be taken against any Pakistan players," Procter said in a statement issued past midnight.

Akhtar was seen using his thumb to pick off some dust, during the 25th over and three balls after the dismissal of Ian Bell.

'Sky Television' repeated the pictures in slow-motion and one of the commentators, former England Test captain Mike Atherton, was heard saying, "make your own mind up."

Nasser Hussain, another former England captain, termed Akhtar's action, in the wake of the Oval Test controversy, as "stupid".

First Published: Sep 06, 2006 15:40 IST