England and Pakistan cricketers were warned by umpires during their World Cup match to not use the tactics that could rough up the ball from one side, making it suitable for reverse swing.
The two on-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Sundaram Ravi spoke to Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and England captain Eoin Morgan on Monday for the frequency with which their fielders threw the ball in on the bounce from the outfield.
“There were discussions throughout the whole of the two innings. The umpires came to me, mid-innings, and seemed to think that we were throwing the ball in on the bounce too much, or it was being over-exaggerated,” Morgan was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Although neither innings witnessed any noticeable reverse swing, England batsman Jos Buttler did inspect the ball after being dismissed for 103.
“They emphasised it would be the same for both. It was really about us then... the conversations that were stopping the game were that Pakistan were doing the same thing. Jos was just intrigued to see the ball. When the ball is hit against the LED advertising boards it does scuff it up quite a lot so he was just interested to see if one side was tougher than the other, natural or unnatural,” Morgan explained.
Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez said that they were also warned of the threat of a penalty if they continued throwing the ball in on more than one bounce.
“It’s their job and they were doing their job. A couple of incidents for both sides where the throw didn’t come in one bounce, but on two or three bounces. We got a warning after 20 overs that if we threw in on two bounces, we would get a penalty, so I made a point of running in to hand them the ball,” said Hafeez. “You don’t want to have to do it but they were just doing their job and they did it right,” he added.
England’s Joe Root, who made a century alongside Buttler, refused to get into the controversy. “I’m not going to get involved or I’ll only get myself in trouble,” said Root.