Reverse mint secrets revealed October 20, 2005

Bracken's swing comments 'silly' - Jones

Cricinfo staff

Nathan Bracken learned about the sweet science in 2003 © Getty Images

Australia have been accused of Ashes "sour grapes" after Nathan Bracken said English bowlers achieved reverse-swing by rubbing sweets on the ball. Bracken, a New South Wales bowler, did not directly point his finger at the urn-winning fast men for ball tampering, but he said county bowlers sucked a special sort of mint and then wiped the saliva on the ball to get it to move.

Simon Jones took 18 wickets in the series before missing the fifth Test with an ankle injury and said the statements were "silly". "I can't believe that a guy who didn't even play in the series has come out with such a comment," he told PA. "If he'd been someone that had played in the series then fair enough because he might have seen something."

Jones said he did not use mints and was not sure whether any of his team-mates attempted the tactic. "It's probably just sour grapes," he said. "What's happened on the field, happened on the field."

Bracken first became aware of the ploy when playing at Gloucester in 2003. "It is just a breath mint you put in your mouth but it makes your saliva very sugary and that is being talked about being used over there," Bracken told radio station 2KY. "Every team has lollies and things like that. We had all our lollies checked before the first game to make sure there was nothing illegal. When I was playing at Gloucester a couple of years ago as soon as we needed the ball to go Irish the captain would call and they would bring out some of these mints and it would work."

However, Bracken told ABC Sport today he thought the comments would be treated as a joke. "I apologise to Simon Jones ... we're making every effort at the moment to get in contact with him and basically just settle things out so everything's perfectly fine and then definitely make sure no offence was taken," he said. "I never said I've seen mints used - I've heard jokes about mints being used. I made an apology earlier and I didn't mean to offend or take anything away from the English team."

Waqar Younis, the former Pakistan bowler who was a reverse-swing expert, told AAP these type of methods had always been part of the game. "Not just our days, even before that," he said. "The West Indies used to rub the ball on their arms. This is part of the game."

Waqar delivered a lecture on reverse-swing in Brisbane yesterday and said England's bowling during the Ashes showed it was a legitimate tactic. "It's nice to see you boys doing it," he said. "In our days when we used to do it you used to call it a lot of things. It's good for the game."