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Wahab reported after ball-kicking row




Wahab Riaz had a run-in with Joe Root on the fourth afternoon Gareth Copley / © Getty Images

Trevor Bayliss, the England coach, made a visit to the match referee on the fourth day of the Dubai Test to voice his concerns that Wahab Riaz deliberately stood on the ball.

Wahab and Joe Root were involved in a lively exchange shortly before the drinks break on the fourth evening, which required the umpires to step in to calm tensions.

Wahab, at the time striving for reverse swing in his second spell, was fielding behind square to the spinner Zulfiqar Babar. On one occasion, he repeatedly kicked the ball back towards the wicketkeeper instead of picking it up with his hands which, he appeared to gesticulate, were sweaty.

At the time, ESPNcricinfo’s ball-by-ball commentary said: “We’ve just seen a bit of footage from during the drinks break of Wahab toeing the ball along the ground with his boot and Root subsequently complaining to the umpires. Bit of remonstrating going on between the two but didn’t look all that scandalous.”

It later emerged that the England camp were sufficiently concerned to make an official visit to the match referee, Andy Pycroft. However, the TV pictures did not provide any conclusive evidence of Wahab stepping on the ball. The issue is not expected to be taken any further.

Asked about the on-field joust between Wahab and Root, England’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace said: “In the heat of battle you will see the odd exchange between players. The umpires dealt with it, Wahab certainly won’t be signing for Chelsea with his football skills. It happened, you move on. That’s the end of it.”

Wahab produced what will likely prove the match-defining spell when he removed England’s middle order on the third morning, as he bowled nine overs unchanged to claim three wickets, including Root caught behind to begin the collapse. He is so far wicketless in the second innings, with the scalps having so far gone to Imran Khan and Yasir Shah.

Yasir removed Alastair Cook for the second time in the match after an innings in which Cook appeared to be in significant discomfort. Despite speculation about a groin strain, England have insisted that the captain has not reported any injury.

Cook was struggling to run between the wickets as he made 10 off 22 balls before stiffly top-edging a sweep to deep square-leg. The official line is that there was no concern.


England played down concerns about Cook’s fitness after the captain fell for 10 © Getty Images

Cook has not been fielding in the slips during this Test because he split the webbing on his left hand in Abu Dhabi, which required stitches. He then spent 14 hours at the crease making 263, which he followed with 65 in nearly three hours in the first innings in Dubai.

“I’m not aware of any injury, except for the amount of hours he’s spent hunched over a bat handle scoring thousands of runs,” Farbrace said. “He never looks the best mover anyway. I’ve never really seen him flying around, that’s why he’s made such a great success at slip. But because of his hand he’s been out of the slips, perhaps it’s showing up a bit more because he’s not been in the slips during this game.

Cook has had back problems at various stages of his career – he struggled at the start of the 2013-14 Ashes tour – but Farbrace said there was nothing more than normal management of him being undertaken.

“He does spend time with the physio and masseuse as most players would do. He is someone from time to time who does get treatment on his back, but honestly it’s not something we are spending time talking about. He needs to manage himself and he does that really well. It isn’t a concern for us.”

Cook has only ever missed one Test and that came on his first England tour, to India in 2005-06. On that occasion he played in the first two Tests, making a memorable debut century in Nagpur, but was then laid low by a stomach bug and missed the series-levelling victory at Mumbai. If Cook was to miss a Test, Root is the designated vice-captain.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo


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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.







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