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'Go Ahead, Nobody is Looking': Shahid Afridi Reveals Why he Tampered With Pitch in 2005

By: Cricketnext Staff

Edited By: Feroz Khan


Last Updated: September 22, 2022, 12:08 IST


Shahid Afridi had apologised for his conduct. (AFP Photo)

Shahid Afridi had apologised for his conduct. (AFP Photo)

17 years after the infamous incident, Shahid Afridi has opened up on the events leading up him tampering with the pitch during a Test vs England

Pakistan legend Shahid Afridi made waves both with his cricketing skills and his unsavoury on-field antics. Having made a name for smashing a 37-ball century – a record that held for 18 years – quite early in his career, Afridi announced himself on the international stage in style before proving his efficacy as a bowler too.

However, the allrounder’s career wasn’t just about hitting big sixes, peeling off lightning fast centuries or bamboozling batters with his legspin. Afridi also hit the headlines for breaking the law as he tampered with the ball and the pitch on two different occasions in his efforts to give his team an unfair advantage over their opponents.

What made these incidents even more astonishing is the fact that they happened in an era when dozens of cameras would be trained on the players at all times at the venue and despite being aware of this, Afridi still went ahead with his antics.

Afridi’s pitch tampering resulted in the match referee banning him for one Test and two ODIs.  The incident occurred during the Faisalabad Test between Pakistan and England in 2005 with Afridi later apologising for it.

During an interview with Samaa TV, Afridi opened up on the 17-year-old incident, recalling how a cylinder blast at the venue gave him the chance to create a patch on a pitch which was offering nothing to the bowlers.

He claimed to have discussed his intentions with teammate Shoaib Malik who encouraged him citing the fact that others were focused on the blast.

“That Test was in Faisalabad. The ball wasn’t turning, no seam or swing either. It got boring. You are bowling with your full strength but it’s not turning or skidding. So, there was a gas cylinder that exploded forcing everyone to turn their attention towards it. Shoaib Malik and I were talking. I said ‘Malik, I so want to create a patch for myself so at least the ball turns’. He replied, ‘Boss, go ahead. Nobody is looking.’ So I did it,” Afridi recalled.

Years later, Afridi would give the world a famous photograph where he was seen biting the cricket ball during a T20I against England, resulting in a two-match ban. He was found guilty of “changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3 of the Laws of Cricket”.

Afridi recalled how Naved-ul-Hasan, his teammate, complained about the ball doing nothing and so he bit the ball on a couple of occasions to change its condition.

“Rana come on, we have to win this match. He complained about the ball not swinging. I said let me try and so…” he said.

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first published:September 22, 2022, 12:08 IST
last updated:September 22, 2022, 12:08 IST