ICC Champions Trophy: Ashley Giles denies England players tamper with the ball
Last Updated: 16/06/13 6:14am
England's limited-overs coach Ashley Giles has denied his players tamper with the ball in the wake of allegations made by former England captain Bob Willis.
Giles spoke on Saturday morning for the first time since Willis claimed the ball was changed during Thursday's Champions Trophy loss to Sri Lanka because it had been tampered with.
Wilis claimed: "Let's not beat about the bush - (umpire) Aleem Dar is on England's case. He knows that one individual is scratching the ball for England - who I am not going to name - and that's why the ball was changed."
Willis questioned why the ball was changed, adding: "Have you ever heard of the batting side complaining about the shape of the ball, or the umpires saying 'we're going to change the ball because it's out of shape'?
"We don't tamper with the ball and I hope we can talk about something else," Giles told a news conference. It is disappointing because we have a huge game, a quarter-final must-win, and there are a lot of headlines about the wrong stuff."
"The bowling side change the ball because it's out of shape because they think it's gone soft. That's the reason, pure and simple. How naive does Alastair Cook think we are? The ball was changed because it was out of shape? He didn't want the ball changed, so why was it changed?"
But Giles has strongly denied the accusations, insisting the ball-change was simply because it had gone out of shape, and was particularly unhappy they had surfaced ahead of Sunday's must-win Champions Trophy clash with New Zealand.
"We don't tamper with the ball and I hope we can talk about something else," Giles told a news conference.
"It is disappointing because we have a huge game, a quarter-final must-win, and there are a lot of headlines about the wrong stuff.
"With the situation the other day, the ball was changed because it had gone out of shape. We asked the question, the captain asked that question to the umpires which he has a right to. The ball was changed, the rest is history."
Giles refused to get drawn into a war of words. "People have the right to say what they say, we can't stop them," he added.
"It sounds boring, but we have to focus on what we want to do. The most important thing is winning cricket matches and not what Bob Willis says."
In reference to Willis' claim that a particular player was responsible, Giles said: "We play our cricket as hard as anyone else and the headlines are disappointing. There has even been mention of one of our players having a specific role. That player is an extremely good player and we'd like to let him concentrate on cricket."
Giles also defended his side's fielding methods. There have been suggestions England throw the ball in on the bounce in order to scuff it, but Giles said such moves depend on what ground his side are playing on.
"From the boundary you throw the ball in on the bounce because not everyone can throw it on the full. That's permitted."