Just ahead of the all-important World Cup, England fast-bowler Liam Plunkett might land in hot waters after a video of him allegedly tampering with the ball made the rounds on social media. The incident happened during the second ODI between England and Pakistan in Southampton on Saturday. The hosts beat Pakistan by 12 runs in high-scoring thriller.
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Riding on a 50-ball century from Jos Buttler, England posted a mammoth 373 for 3. Buttler’s knock came after Jason Roy (87), Eoin Morgan (71 not out), Jonny Bairstow (51) and Joe Root (40) laid the foundation with some crucial knocks. In reply, Pakistan remained in the game throughout thanks to a stunning century from opener Fakhar Zaman.
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Even after he was out for 138 (106 balls) at the end of the 33rd over, Asif Ali and Sarfaraz Ahmed kept the visitors in contention. However, England pace bowlers David Willey and Liam Plunkett held their nerve and took some crucial wickets to put England in the driver’s seat. With nineteen needed from the final over, Chris Woakes conceded just six to restrict Pakistan to 361 for 7.
But the game has been overshadowed by the recent video doing the round on social media. In the video, Plunkett appears to be scratching the ball with many thinking the bowler was trying to tamper with the ball. The alleged tampering could have been done to generate reverse swing in the death overs as Pakistan gave England a mighty scare.
Plunkett had bowled the penultimate over in which he conceded 8 runs and picked up the wicket of Faheem Ashraf. He finished the game by conceding 64 runs in the 9 overs he bowled. Apart from Ashraf, he got the wicket of Haris Sohail.
Here is a clip showing Liam Plunkett’s questionable gesture:
In case ICC looks into the matter, Plunkett might find himself in a tight spot. Even the England and Wales Cricket Board can take some actions too. Recently the ECB showed they would not compromise with the reputation and integrity of the team by dropping Alex Hales from the World Cup squad after the latter was found guilty of using recreational drug.