Ball tampering has been the hot topic in recent times after Faf Du Plessis’s incident. But what is actually ball tampering?
In the game of cricket, ball tampering is an action in which a fielder illegally alters the condition of the ball.
International Cricket Council (ICC) has a definite law for this ball tampering. Under Law 42, subsection 3 of the Laws of Cricket, the ball may be polished without the use of an artificial substance, may be dried with a towel if it is wet, and have mud removed from it under supervision.
All other actions which alter the condition of the ball are illegal. These are usually taken to include rubbing the ball on the ground, scuffing with a fingernail or other sharp object, or tampering with the seam of the ball.
But recently, the ball-tampering saga which has engulfed South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis is all a bit ridiculous as it is not the first time in the cricket.
Chewing sweets and shining the ball, with the theory being that the polish is kept on the ball better with sweet saliva, is something which has been done by cricketers since the start of this game.
Let’s have a look at the past incidents of ball tampering:
John Kenneth Lever, 1976
For the first time in history, a player became famous for ball tampering was John Kenneth Lever. The former English left arm pacer became famous for what is known as the ‘vaseline incident.’
During the third test Madras in 1976-77, Indian captain Bishan Singh Bedi accused John Lever of using Vaseline to illegally polish the ball. But the claim was later rejected and Lever was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Wasim Akram & Waqar Younis, 1992
In 1992, the two W’s, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis just amazed everyone in the England series with their movement from old balls. English batsmen were literally afraid of that culture they had to face from those pacer men.
Then, English press accused them of ball tampering. Though no video evidence was ever found many accused Wasim and Waqar of scuffing it up on one side of the ball with a soft drink bottle cap. This movement later came to be known as reverse swing.
Michael Atherton, 1994
The former English captain was accused of ball tampering during the a Test match against South Africa at Lords in 1994.
In that match, television cameras caught Atherton while he was reaching into his pocket and then rubbing a substance on the ball.
Waqar Younis, 2000
Pakistani speedster, Waqar Younis was the first bowler to face a ban for ball tempering in the year of 2000. He was found lifting the seam off the ball during an ODI match against South Africa in Colombo.
Sachin Tendulkar, 2001
The incident took place during the second test of India’s 2001 tour of South Africa. During that match in Port Elizabeth, television cameras picked up images that suggested Tendulkar have been involved in cleaning the seam of the cricket ball.
Match referee of the match, Mike Denness suspended Sachin Tendulkar for one game for that alleged ball tampering.
Rahul Dravid, 2004
Former India captain, Rahul Dravid was fined in January, 2004 for tampering the ball. He was caught rubbing a half-eaten lolly onto one side of the ball during an ODI against Zimbabwe in Australia.
Marcus Trescothick, 2005
In that year, England cricket team was flying as they managed to beat Australia in the Ashes after a long period. Fast bowlers Simon Jones, Steve Harmisson and Andrew Flintoff were just amazing.
In that Ashes ball tampering was done but nothing came to the light as nothing was caught like that.
Later, in his autobiography ‘Coming Back to Me’, Marcus Trescothick said that his job during the match was to keep the shine on the leather “with a bit of spit and a lot of polish.”
Pakistani Team, 2006
The most disturbing incident about ball tampering happened in the year of 2006 when Pakistan was playing a test match at Oval against England.
Pakistan cricket team was penalized for ball tampering issue and then they refused to take to the field for the evening session.
James Anderson, 2010
During a match in Capetown between England and South Africa, James Anderson was seen picking at the ball and his partner stood on it. The, South Africa accused England team for this. But, The match referee took no action.
Shahid Afridi, 2010
In 2010, Pakistani legend, Shahid Afridi was banned for two matches for biting the ball and this incident was shown in the big screen. But, Afridi claimed that he was smelling it.
Faf Du Plessis, 2013
In the year of 2013, Faf was fined 50 percent of his match fee and Pakistan were awarded five runs as Du Plessis attempeted to scuff the ball on his zip.
Vernon Philander, 2014
In that year, South Africa’s fast bowler, Vernon Philander was fined 75 per cent of his match fee for scratching the ball.
After all those incidents, recently, Du Plessis was charged after camera footage showed him using saliva on the ball while sucking on a mint. He was fined his entire match fee by ICC.
In the same time Virat Kohli was also seen doing the same against England in the Mohali test but no action was taken against him.
So the action taken against Du Plessis is looking unethical. Many cricket legends and current Protea players protested against this decision of ICC.
Here are some of those:
The thing Du Plessis did has been a common measures fielder take now a days to help the bowlers. There are many occasions when the fielders in the slips was seen chewing on sweets and looking to use their saliva to buff the ball.
Even, current Australian captain Steve Smith said on Wednesday, “every team around the world will do the same, especially with the Dukes ball.”
Nobody has really talked about it until Du Plessis was caught on camera while doing this. During the second Test against Australia in Hobart, the television images clearly showed that the 32-year-old was busy in putting his saliva from a mint on the ball but.
But, it has been happening for years and years. ICC should have a clear rule what is right and what is wrong. The clause they have for ball tampering is unclear and not totally informative.
As a cricket lover, no one will like to see the action taken on Du Plessis for an unethical reason. As no action has been taken on Virat Kohli or many other players in the past for the same reason, the same thing had to be done with DU Plessis too.
Information Courtesy: Daily Mail, Deccan Chronicle, EspnCricinfo & City A.M.