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Feb 02, 2010 at 02:43pm IST

Afridi's tampering taunt invites ICC ire

Karachi/Melbourne: Shahid Afridi made a feeble attempt at defending his ban-inviting ball-biting antic in Perth before making a startling allegation that all teams indulge in such ball-tampering acts.

Caught on camera biting the ball during Sunday's ODI against Australia in Perth, Afridi on Monday did flip-flops, first claiming he was trying to "smell" the ball, then reckoning he was trying to help the bowler "in a wrong way" before apologising for the "mad thing".

He then went on to claim that ball-tampering is nothing new in cricket and it's only that his "methods were wrong".

Afridi's tampering taunt invites more trouble

The all-rounder made a startling allegation after being banned for two T20 games.

Benefitting from his two-match ban, Shoaib Malik was on Monday named to lead the side in Friday's one-off Twenty20 tie against Australia while the former Pakistani players wondered why Afridi behaved in such a crazy manner.

Coach Intikhab Alam felt Afridi seemed like "eating an apple" while former captain Inzamam-ul Haq lashed out at the all-rounder, saying it was "unacceptable".

Recalling the incident, Afridi said, "I tried to smell it. There was some things on it that I tried to move. I don't know what happened to me that made me do such a mad thing.

"It was not right and I apologise for my actions to everyone. What happened was very unfortunate and should not have happened. I have learnt from my mistake and will not repeat it again," Afridi said.

Subsequently, Pakistan's Twenty20 captain tried to dilute the issue, saying all teams indulge in ball-tampering.

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"There is no team in the world that doesn't tamper with the ball," said Afridi.

"My methods were wrong. I am embarrassed, I shouldn't have done it. I just wanted to win us a game but this was the wrong way to do it," Afridi said.

Incidentally, TV footage surfaced in Pakistan in which the player was apaprently seen admitting to and advocating ball-tampering.

"...you also have to help the ball yourself. You have to tamper with the ball to make it swing.

"It spells death for bowlers if you don't tamper with the ball. You can get some help from the pitch but even then you have to 'make' the ball," Afridi was heard saying.

He in fact went to the extent of saying that ICC should legalise ball-tampering.

Coach Intikhab Alam, however, was less than amused and said, "It is unacceptable, it should not have happened -- I feel sorry for him, being a captain you should be above everything.

"It just happened, like he was eating an apple. I have no idea (what he was trying to achieve)," he said.

Inzamam was more harsh in his view and felt Afridi was lucky to have escaped with a two-match ban.

"What Afridi did was unacceptable and more worrying is the fact that he was captain when he tried to tamper with the ball," Inzamam added.

"The match referee Ranjan Madugalle has been kind to Afridi, giving him just a two-match ban or else Afridi could have been in bigger trouble," Inzamam added.

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