Surrey cleared of wrongdoing as ECB take no further action over ball change against Leicestershire

Will Macpherson
·2-min read
Surrey desperately try to dismiss Leicestershire’s Hassan Azad (Getty Images for Surrey CCC)
Surrey desperately try to dismiss Leicestershire’s Hassan Azad (Getty Images for Surrey CCC)

The ECB have taken no further action against Surrey after the umpires opted to change the ball on the final day of their draw against Leicestershire.

On an extremely flat Kia Oval pitch, Ollie Pope’s double century had helped Surrey establish a first innings lead of 297, but they only managed to take three Leicestershire wickets across the final four sessions of the match last week, with the doughty Hassan Azad digging in for a century.

A sleepy end to the game was marred by a controversy over the ball.

On the final morning, all-rounder Jordan Clark dismissed Sam Evans and Harry Dearden in successive balls after an opening stand of 82 (between first innings centurion Evans and Azad) that spanned 32 overs.

Soon after, umpires Graham Lloyd and Paul Pollard saw something that did not please them about the state of the ball – which had recently shown hints of reverse swing – and replaced it.

Surrey’s players and staff were left bemused by the situation, especially given they were handed a replacement ball they believed was considerably older – therefore reducing the likelihood of finding reverse swing – than the one they had been using.

Across more than 60 overs in the final two sessions, they managed just one further wicket on an unresponsive Oval surface, with the match ending in a draw.

After the ECB spent the week looking into the issue, they confirmed on Friday that Surrey have been cleared of wrongdoing.

While there is likely to be relief in south London that no further action has been taken, some lingering frustration seems probable as the change of ball coincided with the slowing of their charge for a first victory of the season.

This season a draw is worth eight points in the County Championship conference system and a victory 16.

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