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What was Shoaib Akhtar doing with the ball?

Sky Television showed the fast bowler flicking at the ball with his left thumb in the third ODI.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2006 11:38 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Shoaib Akhtar found himself at the centre of a controversial incident during the third match of Pakistan's one-day series against England at the Rose Bowl on Tuesday.

Barely more than two weeks after the unprecedented conclusion to the Oval Test, pictures from host broadcaster Sky Television appeared to show the fast bowler flicking at the ball with his left thumb as he returned to his mark.

It could have been that Akhtar was simply removing dirt or mud from the ball, which he is perfectly entitled to do under the Laws of Cricket.

The highlighted incident took place three balls after Ian Bell had been dismissed and in Akhtar's seventh over.

However, umpires Nigel Llong and Billy Doctrove let Pakistan continue to use the ball after they inspected it at the end of the 41st over.

Former England captain Michael Atherton, who was commentating for Sky at the time, invited the viewers to "make your own minds up" after watching the footage.

Should match referee Mike Procter believe Akhar has a case to answer, the standard International Cricket Council procedure would be to hold a hearing immediately after the end of Tuesday's match.

First Published: Sep 06, 2006 11:29 IST