Controversy over using squash ball as batting aid May 8, 2007

Storm in a batting glove - Cricket Australia

Cricinfo staff

Adam Gilchrist smashes another six during his 149 in the World Cup final © AFP
Australian cricket officials have dismissed claims that Adam Gilchrist's use of the squash ball as a batting aid in the World Cup final was an unfair advantage. "It's a storm in a teacup, or a batting glove," Peter Young, a spokesman for Cricket Australia, said. "To the best of our knowledge it's no different to, say, putting two or three grips on the bat handle, or batting with two pairs of gloves or having inserts sewn into the palm of gloves."

Gilchrist's 149 in the final ensured that Australia beat Sri Lanka with ease, clinching a hat-trick of World Cup titles. After the match, Gilchrist had said that he had used a squash ball in his left glove to give him a better grip.

Gilchrist's revelation caused an uproar with Kangadaram Mathivanan, Sri Lanka Cricket's secretary saying that the matter could be brought up at next month's ICC annual general meeting. He had said he would push for a stringent application of "Law 42" on fair and unfair play to ensure only approved protection equipment was used.

Batting coach Bob Meuleman, who introduced Gilchrist to the technique, said he laughed when he heard about the objections. "Actually, it's just a little bit sad that some people think there's something sinister in it," he said. "There's not." Gilchrist also found support from his Wayne Clark, his former coach in Western Australia who said that it was rubbish to think that it gave Gilchrist an unfair advantage.

Bob Parry, the senior Australian umpire who stood in the only previous time that Gilchrist used a squash ball, while scoring a century against Queensland, has said that he has no problems with its use. "I don't see it being outside the spirit of the game. It's the same as wearing an extra inner inside a batting glove."