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Gul reverse swing called into question

PAKISTAN captain Younis Khan defended his bowler Umar Gul against suggestions of ball tampering on Monday after it emerged New Zealand had asked umpires to examine the ball he used during last Saturday's Twenty20 match.

Gul returned remarkable figures of 5-6 to take the first-ever five-wicket haul in international Twenty20 cricket during the game, which Pakistan won by six wickets.

"He started to reverse swing it after 12 overs and I don't think that's ever happened in the history of Twenty20 cricket," New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said. "It made a massive difference. I don't know how he did it."

Vettori later confirmed he had discussed the condition of the ball with the umpires, but no action was taken.

Pakistan was previously embroiled in a ball-tampering controversy against England at The Oval back in 2006, when it refused to play after being accused of cheating, forcing the game to be abandoned.

"Why is it always Pakistan?" Khan said at a press conference, after his team had booked its place in the semifinals by beating Ireland on Monday at The Oval.

"We already have a lot of controversies, a lot of suffering. Everybody has his own opinion, especially when you lose a game like that.

"For reverse swing you need pace and a good action. His action is very suitable for reverse swing. We are not cheating. The umpires are checking the ball and there are a lot of cameras. How can we cheat?"

Khan said Gul's performance was purely down to the player's class and hard work - and that any damage to ball would have been caused by the punishment it took during the game. "Reverse swing requires a lot of skill and I think Umar Gul knows the art, especially in Twenty20."



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