England bowler Liam Plunkett has been exonerated of tampering with the ball during the second ODI against Pakistan.
A short clip from Saturday’s match at the Ageas Bowl attracted the attention of Twitter users, with the 34-year-old seen rubbing his fingers along the surface of the Kookaburra ball.
The player himself is understood to have raised the issue after becoming aware of it and was cleared by umpires Chris Gaffaney and Paul Reiffel, in accordance with match referee Richie Richardson.
A short ICC statement read: “The ICC has confirmed that the match officials are comfortable there was no attempt by Liam Plunkett to change the condition of the ball or any evidence of this on the over-by-over examinations of the ball throughout Saturday’s ODI clash in Southampton.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board declined to comment but is understood to be content that Plunkett has no case to answer.
Eoin Morgan hailed new dad Jos Buttler for hitting new heights with his match-winning 110 not out against Pakistan.
England edged out Pakistan by 12 runs in the second ODI at Southampton, with Buttler’s 50-ball century the epitome of improvised, aggressive stroke play.
Buttler and wife Louise recently celebrated the arrival of their first child, daughter Georgia Rose, and the 28-year-old celebrated his century with the classic baby-rocking gesture.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur admitted the tourists had no answers to Buttler’s brutal hitting, while England skipper Morgan believes the Taunton-born star just keeps getting better and better.
As this @CricViz graphic suggests, Jos Buttler has been one of the most destructive batsmen at the death in recent times. Since the ICC 2015 CWC, he strikes at 181.2 in the last ten overs, more than any player in the final phase of an innings. #ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/quL5yRnrNj— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) May 11, 2019
Asked if Buttler had scaled new levels with his stunning knock, Morgan said: “I think so.
“When he plays innings like that, and they seem to be grouped closer and closer together, it means we’re very fortunate to have him in our side.”
Buttler and Morgan posted a 162-run stand as England struck 373 for three in the second ODI against Pakistan.
England rotated resources, omitting World Cup bolter Jofra Archer in a bid to hand other seamers time on the wicket. And Morgan admitted some quality players will miss the cut for the final World Cup squad.
The England skipper insisted however that recent addition Archer’s availability is not itself driving standards.
“I think they are all pushing each other,” said Morgan. “It’s a bit like our batting unit the last two or three years. Guys have come in and done well. And guys will miss out.
“It’s going to be a tough decision regardless of how they have performed. For the last four years David Willey and Liam Plunkett in particular have reacted really well when being put under pressure. You ask them to do more and they respond really well.
“I thought Liam Plunkett bowled beautifully, even when he came back in that middle spell. It didn’t actually swing much today. I thought all the bowlers today who were put under the pump, when we couldn’t take wickets throughout that whole 30-over period, they reacted really well.”
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Former England captain Michael Vaughan doubts whether Alex Hales will play international cricket again after the big-hitting batsman was cast out following his recent suspension.
Hales was named in England’s preliminary 15-man World Cup squad only to be dropped last week after a newspaper report revealed the 30-year-old was serving a 21-day ban for a second positive drugs test.
Limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan scolded Hales for showing “complete disregard” for team values and admitted a meeting of senior players sealed the Nottinghamshire player’s fate.
Vaughan said on the Tuffers and Vaughan podcast on BBC Radio 5 Live: “I don’t know how he comes back from this.
“He has lost the opportunity of playing for his country in a World Cup on home soil and he’ll live with that forever.
“Eoin Morgan spoke brilliantly, very mature, great leadership, everything he said was to the point. It is a message to Alex Hales that this England side isn’t going to mess around anymore.”
England have placed great store in their professionalism and discipline in the past year, a direct response to a late night incident in Bristol that eventually saw Ben Stokes cleared in crown court on a charge of affray and the messy Ashes tour which followed in 2017/18.
Hales was suspended and fined by the England and Wales cricket Board’s cricket Discipline Commission for his role in Bristol, as well as for some social media posts.
Vaughan added: “Bristol was a line-in-the-sand moment, they all realise they have to be better role models.
“Alex Hales was on a 12-month suspended sentence from his actions in Bristol. I don’t know how he comes back from this, he has lost the trust of the team.
“It’s not a great look for the game but I think the England team have dealt with it in the best way they can. The conversation with Hales would have been hard but easy in a way because he has let them down.
“If you’re a professional sports person not thinking clearly you are not in a position to represent your country in a World Cup. I just hope he gets some quality people around him to give him advice.”