ICC news June 29, 2013

Umpires given power to curb ball tampering

ESPNcricinfo staff
25

Umpires have been empowered by the ICC to take action on ball tampering even if they only have suspicion that the condition of the ball has been changed and have no eye witness evidence.

The decision, taken by the ICC Board at their annual conference in London, comes in the wake of controversy in the Champions Trophy when England faced allegations of ball tampering.

The former England captain, Bob Willis, had said that umpire Aleem Dar was 'on England's case' and 'that one individual is scratching the ball for England' when the ball was changed during their tie against Sri Lanka at The Oval.

The ICC has now formally asserted that umpires are free to act on any unproven suspicions of ball tampering. They have approved a two-step on-field process, including penalising the fielding team on the second offence and reporting the fielding captain. The rule will come into effect on October 1.

According to the new regulation, if the umpire believes the condition of the ball has been "changed" but there is no witness to identify which player was behind it, the umpire will replace the ball and issue a first and final warning to the fielding captain.

If umpires suspects a second offence, they can award a five-run penalty to the batting team, replace the ball again and report the fielding captain under the ICC code of conduct.

England gained substantially more reverse-swing in their opening match against Australia and have responded to veiled expressions of suspicion by countering that the skill of their bowlers and superior ball management is at the heart of their success.

But the umpires - Aleem Dar and Billy Bowden - changed the ball during their second match against Sri Lanka. England's captain Alastair Cook was visibly agitated by the change of ball, which he felt contributed unfairly to England's defeat.

The official word from the ICC at the time was that the ball was changed because it was misshapen.

Although no ICC official or member confirmed if that incident was discussed at the meeting, it is understood that it did play a part in the rule change.

While the five-run penalty for ball tampering is not new, the process for the on-field umpires to follow is a new development. It was mooted by the ICC's cricket committee and chief executives committee, and ratified by the ICC Board.

It is understood the main reason behind making amendments were to remove the "grey areas" within Law 42.3, which deals with the condition of the ball.

Currently, umpires - if they feel that the condition of the ball has changed beyond the permitted allowance - can inform the fielding captain that they are replacing the ball in addition to awarding five penalty runs.

Umpires, though, have been wary to take such an action for fear of potential consequences.

The ICC Board sanctioned two other changes to the playing conditions as well, also to be implemented from October 1. Firstly, the on-field umpire will be able to ask the television umpire to check if a delivery that claims a wicket is a no-ball on height, if he has doubts.

And zing wickets - the stumps and bails that have LED lights that flash when they are struck - will come into use in ODI and Twenty20 cricket.

These stumps were used in Australia's Big Bash League T20 tournament, and the ICC had commissioned an independent assessment of the technology before adopting it.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • HawK89 on June 30, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    Good, because the umpires see the condition of the ball in their hands. It will take too long going through hours of video footage to find the ball being tampered. Also, these days the ball always goes back to the umpire after each over, where they can see over by over, the condition of the ball.

  • cric_leo on July 4, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    I think if the empower umpire as such, ICC must go for one ball for entire match rather than two balls for each ends. then it will make the room to bowling side to achieve some reverse swing at the end of the bowling inning. most of all reverse swing a special skill that must be kept within cricket, it should not curtailed or diminished by cricket laws (ridiculous). reverse swing added special edge to cricket and value to older ball. as the level of international cricket played ICC must empower the bawlers by laws to provide balanced contest between bat and ball rather than one-way traffic.

  • jackthelad on July 1, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    bobmartin - correct about the lighty-up wickets; a bail could be slightly shifted then settle back into its groove; by 'zingometry' it would be out, by the laws of cricket, not. The game has gone technology mad. 'The Umpire's decision shall be considered Final' - whatever happened to that? For better or for worse, that's how cricket developed and how it should stay.

  • venkatesh018 on July 1, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    Also, please give the umpires with enough powers to go for their own "Umpire's Reviews" when they are in doubt about a decision.

  • on June 30, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    @ Sam Vinogar. They don't make it very clear, but they are talking specifically about beamers not bouncers. Anythng other than the slowest of bowlers bowling a ball that reaches the batter at above (ABOVE) waist height without bouncing has been a no ball for years. It's just saying that will now be checked.

  • on June 30, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    One bad decision by ICC for not going with UDRS

  • countjimmoriarty on June 30, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    Kalputra - I think that you are letting your paranoia and bias get in the way of the facts.

  • YorkshirePudding on June 30, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    @Vamsi Mohan Kavuri VM, that will be practically impossible, interms of pitches due to different types of Soil, grass, weather conditions, and amount of preparation and the groundsman, pitches will also change during a game in different conditions.

    In the end 'uniform' pitches will simply take out the thrill of test cricket and at that point the game will die.

  • YorkshirePudding on June 30, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    My biggest fear from the above article is this statement "if they feel that the condition of the ball has changed beyond the permitted allowance"

    Each pitch will see the ball change differently, it will also depend on the team, some teams bowlers when starting a spell will bowl the ball in to the ground, some will bowl cross seam early on to get the lacquer off, in the sub-con, the ball condition will change at a different rate to the UK, or Aus. How a team maintains the ball and works it. to get the shine on a particular will be different.

    I'm not eveing going to go in to the differences in materials, some may be weaker, or tougher, an extra layer or two of lacquer, for example, you can buy 2 identical pairs leather shoes, 1 pair will wear differently to the other pair.

  • bobmartin on June 30, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    So.. picture this... an ODI is down to the final couple of overs and Team A require just 5 runs to win... The umpires, having carried out the first warning/ball change procedure, then suspect more ball tampering and award 5 penalty runs to team A and the match is then declared over with Team A winning.. Subsequent investigations reveal no proof of illegal tampering. Law 21.10 does not permit the result to be changed...What then ?

  • HawK89 on June 30, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    Good, because the umpires see the condition of the ball in their hands. It will take too long going through hours of video footage to find the ball being tampered. Also, these days the ball always goes back to the umpire after each over, where they can see over by over, the condition of the ball.

  • cric_leo on July 4, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    I think if the empower umpire as such, ICC must go for one ball for entire match rather than two balls for each ends. then it will make the room to bowling side to achieve some reverse swing at the end of the bowling inning. most of all reverse swing a special skill that must be kept within cricket, it should not curtailed or diminished by cricket laws (ridiculous). reverse swing added special edge to cricket and value to older ball. as the level of international cricket played ICC must empower the bawlers by laws to provide balanced contest between bat and ball rather than one-way traffic.

  • jackthelad on July 1, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    bobmartin - correct about the lighty-up wickets; a bail could be slightly shifted then settle back into its groove; by 'zingometry' it would be out, by the laws of cricket, not. The game has gone technology mad. 'The Umpire's decision shall be considered Final' - whatever happened to that? For better or for worse, that's how cricket developed and how it should stay.

  • venkatesh018 on July 1, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    Also, please give the umpires with enough powers to go for their own "Umpire's Reviews" when they are in doubt about a decision.

  • on June 30, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    @ Sam Vinogar. They don't make it very clear, but they are talking specifically about beamers not bouncers. Anythng other than the slowest of bowlers bowling a ball that reaches the batter at above (ABOVE) waist height without bouncing has been a no ball for years. It's just saying that will now be checked.

  • on June 30, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    One bad decision by ICC for not going with UDRS

  • countjimmoriarty on June 30, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    Kalputra - I think that you are letting your paranoia and bias get in the way of the facts.

  • YorkshirePudding on June 30, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    @Vamsi Mohan Kavuri VM, that will be practically impossible, interms of pitches due to different types of Soil, grass, weather conditions, and amount of preparation and the groundsman, pitches will also change during a game in different conditions.

    In the end 'uniform' pitches will simply take out the thrill of test cricket and at that point the game will die.

  • YorkshirePudding on June 30, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    My biggest fear from the above article is this statement "if they feel that the condition of the ball has changed beyond the permitted allowance"

    Each pitch will see the ball change differently, it will also depend on the team, some teams bowlers when starting a spell will bowl the ball in to the ground, some will bowl cross seam early on to get the lacquer off, in the sub-con, the ball condition will change at a different rate to the UK, or Aus. How a team maintains the ball and works it. to get the shine on a particular will be different.

    I'm not eveing going to go in to the differences in materials, some may be weaker, or tougher, an extra layer or two of lacquer, for example, you can buy 2 identical pairs leather shoes, 1 pair will wear differently to the other pair.

  • bobmartin on June 30, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    So.. picture this... an ODI is down to the final couple of overs and Team A require just 5 runs to win... The umpires, having carried out the first warning/ball change procedure, then suspect more ball tampering and award 5 penalty runs to team A and the match is then declared over with Team A winning.. Subsequent investigations reveal no proof of illegal tampering. Law 21.10 does not permit the result to be changed...What then ?

  • calcu on June 30, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    Excellent call by ICC. Zing wickets will tell exactly when the wicket is down, which will be very usefull

  • bobmartin on June 30, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Once again the ICC are tampering with the Laws to further increase the difference between Club/County level and test match cricket. Why is that football and rugby and just about any other sport you can name have one set of laws/rules to cover every level. On the specifics of what they are tampering with this time: 1) Are the umpires experts in ball tampering...If there is no proof either by the naked eye or by TV replays, how on earth is it justice to penalise a team 5 runs based on what boils down to suspicion. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty 2) The Law requires a bail to be completely removed for the wicket to be deemed broken. From what I've seen of the LED bails, even if one side of the bail lifts, the bail lights up...Have the ICC changed the Law or have they ensured that the LED will only illuminate when both sides of the bail have separated from their grooves.

  • nursery_ender on June 30, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    So the umpires are being 'empowered' to apply the laws of the game on ball tampering just as Hair & Doctrove did at the Oval. Will the ICC actually support any that do so? Or will they be hounded into early retirement?

  • on June 30, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    I don't know how LED lights will help with close run outs? Please guys read what is written. According to this article, "the stumps and bails that have LED lights that flash when they are struck." A player can be given run out until the bails are launched or removed from the wickets. The LED lights will go on when the the ball or or hands or keeper's gloves touch the wickets while same thing will happen to bails but again we are missing the point bails must remove to be given out...

  • on June 30, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    I have one doubt with reference to the paragraph, "1. Firstly, the on-field umpire will be able to ask the television umpire to check if a delivery that claims a wicket is a no-ball on height, if he has doubts."

    How Umpire can declare it as a "No Ball". I believe now it is called "Wide". It is common that if the batsmen able to hit the ball, we cannot call it is as wide when if it is a wide delivery. Are they going to change the name to "No ball" itself? This is just confusing.

  • on June 30, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    So is this the end of reverse swing? I hope not, it is one of those great vagaries of the game that keep us all playing and or watching...

  • Kulaputra on June 30, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    England and the English players usually manage to get away with a lot. They did even this time with ball tampering. J Trott was not punished for an offence that got Ramadin two match suspension (in spite of the fact that there was an appeal). The number of times Stuart Broad has got away with bad behaviour is legendary. Surely, his father being a referee is OK and does not constitute conflict of interest.

    Maximum punishment is handed over to Asian teams, especially Pakistan.

    What is needed is not new laws but a uniform and impartial implementation of the same across all playing countries, not leaving it to judgement of individuals.

  • on June 30, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    may I suggest self flashing leds on ball if its tampered.we may also use ipl style cheerleaders to cheer people when teams play test cricket during course of odi match.

  • jmcilhinney on June 30, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    I think that the lights on the stumps and bails, although rather tacky, are a positive step. We've seen it before but the CT final brought into sharp focus the fact that it's very hard to judge when a bail has actually been dislodged and that can have a big impact when a close run out or stumping occurs. The lights don't help you determine whether the batsman's foot is grounded but at least it's one less variable. The decision on ball-tampering is interesting. I can see why the ICC wants to eliminate grey areas in the laws but penalising a team with no hard evidence does seem harsh, unless this is an admission that it's simply too easy to tamper with the ball for the finding of evidence to be feasible. In ODIs particularly, I would think that the umpire could simply inspect the ball between overs and have the video reviewed for just that over if they suspect that something happened in that period.

  • on June 29, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    This wont be a solution but will be complication, hope ICC is trying to make the game of cricket fair one. I hope ICC even think about the pitches been not so favourable to home side. If that too is done then no team will dominate the team which is visiting them.

  • Greatest_Game on June 29, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    LEDs cannot be mounted on the ball. That would alter the shape/profile & behavior of the ball. The LEDs would be pulverized anyway.

  • rick333 on June 29, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    @Abrar_10: on the contrary it will help immensely in case of close run out and stumping @nitin vasrani: good idea but then again..the LED light on the ball will go on whether it hits the bat or pad or pants for that matter and hence cannot be a solution

  • QTS_ on June 29, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    The zing wickets could be useful for close run out calls, like the two in England's innings during the Champions Trophy final, where Dhoni's gloves were blocking the view of the bails both times. Just another step towards attaining perfection. Wonder if any cricket board will oppose to it.

  • on June 29, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    Need LED's on the ball as well that flashes when it hits the edge of the bat

  • Abrar_10 on June 29, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    LED lights on stumps in international cricket?? Excited to know that but won't it a waste of money? BEcause using these have no positive value!!

  • Abrar_10 on June 29, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    LED lights on stumps in international cricket?? Excited to know that but won't it a waste of money? BEcause using these have no positive value!!

  • on June 29, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    Need LED's on the ball as well that flashes when it hits the edge of the bat

  • QTS_ on June 29, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    The zing wickets could be useful for close run out calls, like the two in England's innings during the Champions Trophy final, where Dhoni's gloves were blocking the view of the bails both times. Just another step towards attaining perfection. Wonder if any cricket board will oppose to it.

  • rick333 on June 29, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    @Abrar_10: on the contrary it will help immensely in case of close run out and stumping @nitin vasrani: good idea but then again..the LED light on the ball will go on whether it hits the bat or pad or pants for that matter and hence cannot be a solution

  • Greatest_Game on June 29, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    LEDs cannot be mounted on the ball. That would alter the shape/profile & behavior of the ball. The LEDs would be pulverized anyway.

  • on June 29, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    This wont be a solution but will be complication, hope ICC is trying to make the game of cricket fair one. I hope ICC even think about the pitches been not so favourable to home side. If that too is done then no team will dominate the team which is visiting them.

  • jmcilhinney on June 30, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    I think that the lights on the stumps and bails, although rather tacky, are a positive step. We've seen it before but the CT final brought into sharp focus the fact that it's very hard to judge when a bail has actually been dislodged and that can have a big impact when a close run out or stumping occurs. The lights don't help you determine whether the batsman's foot is grounded but at least it's one less variable. The decision on ball-tampering is interesting. I can see why the ICC wants to eliminate grey areas in the laws but penalising a team with no hard evidence does seem harsh, unless this is an admission that it's simply too easy to tamper with the ball for the finding of evidence to be feasible. In ODIs particularly, I would think that the umpire could simply inspect the ball between overs and have the video reviewed for just that over if they suspect that something happened in that period.

  • on June 30, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    may I suggest self flashing leds on ball if its tampered.we may also use ipl style cheerleaders to cheer people when teams play test cricket during course of odi match.

  • Kulaputra on June 30, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    England and the English players usually manage to get away with a lot. They did even this time with ball tampering. J Trott was not punished for an offence that got Ramadin two match suspension (in spite of the fact that there was an appeal). The number of times Stuart Broad has got away with bad behaviour is legendary. Surely, his father being a referee is OK and does not constitute conflict of interest.

    Maximum punishment is handed over to Asian teams, especially Pakistan.

    What is needed is not new laws but a uniform and impartial implementation of the same across all playing countries, not leaving it to judgement of individuals.

  • on June 30, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    So is this the end of reverse swing? I hope not, it is one of those great vagaries of the game that keep us all playing and or watching...