London - Ravi Bopara hit back Friday at claims of ball-tampering made against England by former captain Bob Willis during the Champions Trophy.
Willis, one of only four England bowlers to have taken 300 Test wickets, said leading umpire Aleem Dar was "on England's case" and "that one individual is scratching the ball for England."
Former fast bowler Willis, now a television pundit. made his comments after Dar and fellow on-field umpire Billy Bowden changed the ball during England's group stage loss to Sri Lanka at The Oval.
England one-day coach Ashley Giles subsequently insisted the team's conduct had been above board and the International Cricket Council said nothing in the umpires' report warranted further investigation.
"It was annoying, sad and depressing -- especially in the middle of a global competition," Bopara told Friday's London Evening Standard.
"We were doing well in that tournament, and I felt it was unacceptable to make that sort of noise," the Essex all-rounder added after a tournament where England lost in the final to India.
"When England are doing well, why does something negative have to come from it? Why not just get on the wave with England and enjoy it?"
Medium-pacer Bopara, often given the job of looking after the ball for both county and his country, said: "We've learnt over the last 12-18 months that we need to look after the white ball as well as we do the red ball.
"We discussed as a team how we were going to shine it.
"You have to look after them to make them 'talk'.
"You want that seam to be standing up as long as possible; you want one side to be very smooth, which helps with lateral movement.
"If you can make the red ball swing, you should be able to do the same with the white one."