Bopara slams Willis for England ball-tampering claims
Johannesburg: England bowler Ravi Bopara has slammed former captain Bob Willis for his claims of ball tampering against England during the ICC Champions Trophy.
Willis, one of only four England bowlers to have taken 300 Test wickets, said that leading umpire Aleem Dar was `on England`s case` and `that one individual is scratching the ball for England`.
According to the report, former fast bowler Willis, now a television pundit, made his comments after Dar and fellow on-field umpire Billy Bowden changed the ball during England`s group stage loss to Sri Lanka at The Oval.
Hitting back at Willis` claims, Bopara said that the claims were annoying, sad and depressing, especially due to the fact that they were made in the middle of a global competition, adding that he felt that it was unacceptable of Willis to have raised such a storm given the fact that England had been doing well in the tournament.
The medium-pacer, who is often given the job of looking after the ball for both county and his country, further said that Willis should have gone on the wave with England and enjoyed their performance, instead of creating negative publicity about the team.
Stating that they have learnt to look after the white ball as well as the red ball, Bopara also said that they had discussed as a team about ways to shine the ball to make it perform well, adding that the white ball should be made to swing the same way as the red ball.
Bopara further said that the seam in the ball should be kept standing up as long as possible, adding that one side of the ball should be very smooth to help with lateral movement.
England one-day coach Ashley Giles had insisted after Willis` allegations that the team`s conduct had been above board, following which, the International Cricket Council said nothing in the umpire s` report warranted further investigation, the report added.