Botham calls Hughes a cheat, Clarke defends Hughes

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

SYDNEY - Former England skipper Ian Botham has accused Australian Phillip Hughes of “cheating” and almost denying Alastair Cook a third century in the ongoing Ashes series.

Hughes, however, was backed by his captain Michael Clarke, who termed Botham’s comments a bit “harsh”.

Cook, on 99, was appeared to be caught by Hughes at short square leg off by Michael Beer.

When umpire Billy Bowden consulted TV umpire Tony Hill, the replays showed the ball bounced before being taken by Hughes.

On Sky Sports, Botham was livid.

“Terrible. Cheating. How much do you want it to bounce into your hands? He (Hughes) knows he hasnt caught it. Theres no appeal. Someone else says something and then he goes up,” the Daily Mail quoted him saying.

Cook went on to score 189, becoming the sixth England player to score three tons in a series in Australia.

Clarke said he could vouch that Hughes was no cheat.

“That’s a bit harsh from Ian to say that about Phillip. I can guarantee you one thing - Phillip Hughes is not a cheat, that’s for sure,” Clarke said.

“He’s a wonderful young guy. The end result was spot-on. Hughesy wasn’t sure, and Brad Haddin who saw the ball clearly wasn’t sure.

“We made that clear to the umpires, the umpires referred the catch and … the right decision was made.”

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