The Quaid-e-Azam Trophy clash between Central Punjab and Sindh at Faisalabad is in the news for all the wrong reasons after Ahmed Shehzad, the Pakistan cricket team opener, was fined 50 percent of his match fee due to ball tampering. The incident occurred during the 17th over of Sindh's first innings on Tuesday when during a normal inspection of the ball, on-field umpires Mohammad Asif and Zameer Ahmed found that the ball had been unfairly changed by a member of the fielding side. The matter was reported by the umpires to the match referee who held a hearing after the match ended in a exciting draw.
Some players who took part in the match confided that ball tampering had taken place in the match by the Central Punjab bowlers quite a few times and the matter was brought to the notice of the umpires by Sindh captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. The Pakistan Cricket Board issued the sanction under their Code of Conduct and released a statement saying, "Ahmed pleaded not guilty to the charge, and, as such, a hearing took place after the match on Thursday, in which Ahmed was found guilty."
In his defence, Shehzad maintained that he did not try and tamper with the ball. "We can agree to disagree in this incident as I maintain that the condition of the ball changed naturally due to the rough playing square and not artificially. I tried to convince the match officials, but they insisted and I accept and respect their decision. I would never indulge in such an act nor allow any of my team-mates to disrespect the game. My priority is to play hard, competitive and result-oriented cricket, and at the same time inspire the younger generation, which watches us play the game," Shehzad said.
Some cricket experts believe that the ball tampering incident coming at a time when Pakistan is touring Australia could give ammunition to the Australian media to create pressure on the Pakistani players. Shehzad missed out on the Australian tour for both the T20 and Test series.
Pakistan will play three Twenty20 Internationals and two Tests which will be part of the ICC World Test Championships. The first Twenty20 International will take place on November 3 in Sydney while the second and third matches will take place on November 5 and 8 at Canberra and Perth. The Test matches will be played on November 21 and November 25 at Brisbane and Adelaide.