March 8, 2010

Keep it simple

The more you legislate the game, the more anal it will become
44

Cricket pundits have a hard time accepting that there are things that cannot be legislated for. Even the "Spirit of the Game" is now codified, appearing, constitution-like, as a preamble to the laws. It is almost paranoid, this impulse to master the game via the laws, as though the beast will run amok and trample the millions of hapless fans who watch it with all its ambiguities.

Some weeks ago, when Shahid Afridi got graphic with five-and-a-half ounces of leather, the legislative urge sparked once again among commentators. Make ball-tampering legal, the call went. The crux of the argument was: It happens anyway, and if bowlers are allowed to maintain the ball, why not allow them to deteriorate it?

Part of the reason one feels sympathy for bowlers, of course, is to do with silly legislation. Batsmen have benefited from changes to the bouncer rule, the no-ball rule, the lbw rule, the free-hit, the fielding restrictions, and other administrative actions not in the laws, such as standardised balls and smaller boundaries. The ground in Gwalior, illuminated by Sachin Tendulkar the other day, was born tiny, but others aspire to its condition. Tampering in the face of this feels like a just form of union action.

I personally cannot rouse myself to moral indignation towards the issue. The most brilliant delivery I ever saw by a fast bowler in Test cricket was Wasim Akram to Rahul Dravid in Chennai in 1999. The ball was just past 20 overs old and Akram was making it sing like only Akram could. For this over he'd been conjuring ruthlessly late inswing from over the wicket, and he almost had Dravid lbw with one such. The final delivery started outside leg stump, and suggested that, like the previous ones, it would swing further that way. If you watch it in slow motion you will see the mighty Dravid shaping up for a glance. Belatedly, as if having collided with an air-wall, the ball changed course. It snaked across the pitch, hissed past Dravid's hurriedly readjusted bat, and administered the fatal sting to the top of off stump.

Later that afternoon, Sunil Gavaskar on commentary spotted Akram applying sunscreen to the ball. If that was the effect of sunscreen, I thought, it ought to be made compulsory.

But legalising ball tampering would be a folly. The proposal doesn't take into account two important points.

"Making a ball", to use the colloquial, is not an exact science, and swing itself is a somewhat mysterious process. Bowling teams look to change the ball when it fails to assist them, in the hope that the replacement will. If vandalism is permitted, they are effectively empowered to claim a replacement whenever they like by damaging the ball till the umpire deems it unfit for play. That is why there is inherent sense in permitting shining but not scratching. Shiva is way cooler than Vishnu, but preservation has its uses.

If vandalism is permitted, the fielding team is effectively empowered to claim a replacement whenever they like by damaging the ball till the umpire deems it unfit for play. That is why there is inherent sense in permitting shining but not scratching

The second point is that the consequence of permission is a whole new set of silly legislation. Should external objects be allowed? If it is legal to scar the ball, does it matter if it is with a fingernail or a switchblade? What acts are to be permitted? Seam-biting is less hygienic than seam-picking, but should it fall foul of the law for that reason? What kinds of creams are to be sanctioned? Minutiae of this kind will be impossible to monitor and will make cricket a more anal game.

Umpiring has gone down this road already. Some years ago we saw the advent of a referral system where the role of technology was radically increased. Far from improving certainty, it emerged that more and more decisions were taken with incomplete knowledge, and this has been only marginally rectified in the new review system. An inordinate amount of energy is wasted in determining whether a ball has struck the pads 1mm outside off stump or not, and then speculating if it would go on to hit the stumps or not. I know the process begins with a court-style appeal, but for it to be followed by a prolonged forensic investigation feels anal in a sport.

Particularly when you see the investigators bumbling with tools they cannot trust. Technology is asked to do things it isn't yet ready for. For a few years, barely a single low catch was given out because the television images, two-dimensional, always cast a doubt.

In trying to fix problems for which there are still no solutions, fresh problems are created. This is typical of cricket administration. If one-day cricket gets boring, the response, rather than play less frequently and on better pitches, is to form a committee that installs bowling Powerplays, batting Powerplays and Supersubs, making the game harder to follow and no better to watch. Routinely, it misses the wood for the trees. Nothing wastes as much time as establishing from replays the points of contact between the ball, the rope and the fielder (or his apparel), at the boundary, yet cricket perseveres with this practice rather than going by the plain sight of the ball crossing the line or not.

"Just keep it simple," someone needs to counsel overenthusiastic reformers. Cricket is bigger than the laws. That is not a weakness.

The idea of a law is not to make the game perfect but manageable. Neither prohibition nor permission will fix the issue of ball-tampering. But prohibition makes it easier to manage, so long as officials do not prosecute without evidence as Darrell Hair did in 2006. What fiddlers everywhere have to thank Afridi for, though, is de-stigmatising the act by reducing it to pure comedy.

Rahul Bhattacharya is the author of the cricket tour book Pundits from Pakistan. He writes a monthly column for Mint Lounge

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • badnoc on March 9, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Rahul Bhattachariya, according to you SHAHID AFRIDI has done graphics right? TWENTY YEARS AGO, Manoj Prabhakar did the same and for the last 3 weeks that video was on youtube, watched by millions and now removed because, it has been removed due to terms of use violation ! Any comments on that? Was it more graphic or less graphic or whether it is legal or illegal? I am not saying what Afridi did is right. But, I am only asking why is it that when ball tampering or any wrong doing is done by Indian, British, SA or other team players they don't get publicized as much as Pakistani players, why?. I don't think you or your bloggers have an answer to this question and MR. BHATTACHARIYA you will NOT publish my comments either. Because, this is how the media works against Pakistani players.

  • cricster67 on March 9, 2010, 15:38 GMT

    I agree with Rahul that 'permitting ball tempering' is not as easy as it sounds. Captains will start carrying hammers to the ground and shape the ball into a square to make it completely unpredictable. What is needed is the repeal of over-protection of batsmen. The most hideous law is that the LBW cannot be given if the batsman was struck outside of off stump. LBW should be given as long as the ball was headed to the stumps - regardless of where it pitched.

  • Hassan.Farooqi on March 9, 2010, 14:46 GMT

    Instead of allowing ball tampering, they should allow unlimited bouncers to fast bowlers and batsmen should not be allowed to wear a helmet. If ball tampering is to be indeed allowed, then I suggest pitch-tampering be considered as well, so a spinner can spin the bowl well.

  • on March 9, 2010, 5:43 GMT

    @devil510. If ball tampering is legalised, I'd rather need a good Blacksmith than a good bowler in my team :). If Ball tampering is allowed, batsman would say we need STEEL bats..then bowlers would need something else...when will it stop..It's like opening Pandora's Box.

  • popcorn on March 9, 2010, 0:10 GMT

    Ball -tampering should NEVER be legalised.Instead,the erring cricketer AND the Captain AND the Team as a whole should be banned for a couple of matches.Particulary the Team. Only then will ball-tampering stop. The non-tampering cricketers are equally responsible - you think the dressing room is a Silence Zone? Add the Team's Cricket Board to the "aiding and abetting" and you'll have zero ball tampering.

  • Philip_Gnana on March 8, 2010, 22:48 GMT

    "Ball tampering is an art that can only be perfected by a select few", tongue in cheek of course. We see wickets prepared for batsmen and wickets prepared for the bowlers. There are times when even 7 days of cricket may not bring a result and the flip side, we see matches overs in three days too. So lets not bring pitches in to the arguement, unless of course you want to have a bog standard pitch that will always give you a result. This will then mean that the winning of the toss will invariably have a huge say in the result. But, lets get back to ball tampering. It is not cricket and hence should not be allowed. Even applying of perspiration should not be allowed as that is an a foreign source. Polishing it on one side is of course is allowed it has been there for ages. Give the bowlers a bit more tolerance or even allow an extra fielder on the leg side behind the wicket? Please no more advantages for the batsmen. Do Not Legalise Ball Tampering. Philip Gnana,New Malden, Surrey

  • devil510 on March 8, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    I am sorry but this is not good Batting friendly pitches are not a problem.

    that's the biggest problem if bowlers don't get swing or pace or spin of the pitch why not we let ten years old kids bowl because i really don't think it makes differnce if 12 or 21 year old bowls on batting batting friendly pitches

    Spectators come to see 50 overs full game not side bundling within 30 overs really a good spectator will never mind if a side bundles out in 30 overs thta just shows the batsmen who are so called champions how good really they are it shows them the truth rather than making them look like gods on small ground better bats and unsupported pitches for bowlers

    Just Two RULES: 1) Boundry lines should be standardize between 78 meters - 85 meters . Nobody wants to see a mis-hit as a Six. this one does make bit of sense i do agree with this one

    as for lbw rule that one does not make sense either at all

    and ball tampering should be legalised let the bowlers breath

  • Rukus_NZ on March 8, 2010, 22:13 GMT

    LOL ball tampering legal..... sure lets just all get out our nail filers during the drinks break, or stomp on the ball with springs to get a new ball because we want one..

    There are too many ramifications in this, even if you see the benefits, there are by far way to many ways one could abuse this legalisation...

  • Fayss on March 8, 2010, 19:55 GMT

    Absolutely ridiculous logic of Mr. Rahul. Ball tampering is an art, which side to be roughed and how much to be roughed, and what has to be done next with the shiner side while releasing the ball. So just ball tampering doesn't makes it easy to swing. Its one of the tools which helps in bringing the swing but only masters can do this not everyone. Scratching the ball doesn't means to be breaking the quarter of the ball, its just to make it a rough side, so that swing can be created later in the game. And No one should say that crowd loves to see lots of batting in the game. It is always a two way process which is liked most by the public. Mr. Rahul you should look at the brighter side of the game instead of making the cricket only on the shoulders of BATTING.

  • Dileep.Iyer on March 8, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    Its really stupid, even to consider this thought of "legalising" ball tampering. One fellow bites the ball in front of 100s of cameras (including the ones with the spectators he he) and then lets out a statement that ALL TEAMS DOES THIS and then the next thing is experts considering the topic of legalising this mistake. Waste of time, waste of money!!

    Technology is available to use. Keep an eye on anyone who is handling the ball.... land strict punishments to anyone who alters the condition. 5 match suspension 200% fine or anything. No exceptions... Enforce the law and see it for yourself. You will not have to waste ure energy discussion whether to legalise this crime!

  • badnoc on March 9, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Rahul Bhattachariya, according to you SHAHID AFRIDI has done graphics right? TWENTY YEARS AGO, Manoj Prabhakar did the same and for the last 3 weeks that video was on youtube, watched by millions and now removed because, it has been removed due to terms of use violation ! Any comments on that? Was it more graphic or less graphic or whether it is legal or illegal? I am not saying what Afridi did is right. But, I am only asking why is it that when ball tampering or any wrong doing is done by Indian, British, SA or other team players they don't get publicized as much as Pakistani players, why?. I don't think you or your bloggers have an answer to this question and MR. BHATTACHARIYA you will NOT publish my comments either. Because, this is how the media works against Pakistani players.

  • cricster67 on March 9, 2010, 15:38 GMT

    I agree with Rahul that 'permitting ball tempering' is not as easy as it sounds. Captains will start carrying hammers to the ground and shape the ball into a square to make it completely unpredictable. What is needed is the repeal of over-protection of batsmen. The most hideous law is that the LBW cannot be given if the batsman was struck outside of off stump. LBW should be given as long as the ball was headed to the stumps - regardless of where it pitched.

  • Hassan.Farooqi on March 9, 2010, 14:46 GMT

    Instead of allowing ball tampering, they should allow unlimited bouncers to fast bowlers and batsmen should not be allowed to wear a helmet. If ball tampering is to be indeed allowed, then I suggest pitch-tampering be considered as well, so a spinner can spin the bowl well.

  • on March 9, 2010, 5:43 GMT

    @devil510. If ball tampering is legalised, I'd rather need a good Blacksmith than a good bowler in my team :). If Ball tampering is allowed, batsman would say we need STEEL bats..then bowlers would need something else...when will it stop..It's like opening Pandora's Box.

  • popcorn on March 9, 2010, 0:10 GMT

    Ball -tampering should NEVER be legalised.Instead,the erring cricketer AND the Captain AND the Team as a whole should be banned for a couple of matches.Particulary the Team. Only then will ball-tampering stop. The non-tampering cricketers are equally responsible - you think the dressing room is a Silence Zone? Add the Team's Cricket Board to the "aiding and abetting" and you'll have zero ball tampering.

  • Philip_Gnana on March 8, 2010, 22:48 GMT

    "Ball tampering is an art that can only be perfected by a select few", tongue in cheek of course. We see wickets prepared for batsmen and wickets prepared for the bowlers. There are times when even 7 days of cricket may not bring a result and the flip side, we see matches overs in three days too. So lets not bring pitches in to the arguement, unless of course you want to have a bog standard pitch that will always give you a result. This will then mean that the winning of the toss will invariably have a huge say in the result. But, lets get back to ball tampering. It is not cricket and hence should not be allowed. Even applying of perspiration should not be allowed as that is an a foreign source. Polishing it on one side is of course is allowed it has been there for ages. Give the bowlers a bit more tolerance or even allow an extra fielder on the leg side behind the wicket? Please no more advantages for the batsmen. Do Not Legalise Ball Tampering. Philip Gnana,New Malden, Surrey

  • devil510 on March 8, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    I am sorry but this is not good Batting friendly pitches are not a problem.

    that's the biggest problem if bowlers don't get swing or pace or spin of the pitch why not we let ten years old kids bowl because i really don't think it makes differnce if 12 or 21 year old bowls on batting batting friendly pitches

    Spectators come to see 50 overs full game not side bundling within 30 overs really a good spectator will never mind if a side bundles out in 30 overs thta just shows the batsmen who are so called champions how good really they are it shows them the truth rather than making them look like gods on small ground better bats and unsupported pitches for bowlers

    Just Two RULES: 1) Boundry lines should be standardize between 78 meters - 85 meters . Nobody wants to see a mis-hit as a Six. this one does make bit of sense i do agree with this one

    as for lbw rule that one does not make sense either at all

    and ball tampering should be legalised let the bowlers breath

  • Rukus_NZ on March 8, 2010, 22:13 GMT

    LOL ball tampering legal..... sure lets just all get out our nail filers during the drinks break, or stomp on the ball with springs to get a new ball because we want one..

    There are too many ramifications in this, even if you see the benefits, there are by far way to many ways one could abuse this legalisation...

  • Fayss on March 8, 2010, 19:55 GMT

    Absolutely ridiculous logic of Mr. Rahul. Ball tampering is an art, which side to be roughed and how much to be roughed, and what has to be done next with the shiner side while releasing the ball. So just ball tampering doesn't makes it easy to swing. Its one of the tools which helps in bringing the swing but only masters can do this not everyone. Scratching the ball doesn't means to be breaking the quarter of the ball, its just to make it a rough side, so that swing can be created later in the game. And No one should say that crowd loves to see lots of batting in the game. It is always a two way process which is liked most by the public. Mr. Rahul you should look at the brighter side of the game instead of making the cricket only on the shoulders of BATTING.

  • Dileep.Iyer on March 8, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    Its really stupid, even to consider this thought of "legalising" ball tampering. One fellow bites the ball in front of 100s of cameras (including the ones with the spectators he he) and then lets out a statement that ALL TEAMS DOES THIS and then the next thing is experts considering the topic of legalising this mistake. Waste of time, waste of money!!

    Technology is available to use. Keep an eye on anyone who is handling the ball.... land strict punishments to anyone who alters the condition. 5 match suspension 200% fine or anything. No exceptions... Enforce the law and see it for yourself. You will not have to waste ure energy discussion whether to legalise this crime!

  • on March 8, 2010, 18:07 GMT

    Batting friendly pitches are not a problem. Spectators come to see 50 overs full game not side bundling within 30 overs Just Two RULES:

    1) Boundry lines should be standardize between 78 meters - 85 meters . Nobody wants to see a mis-hit as a Six. 2) I also dont mind LBW irrespective of the line of the ball and it should always be refer to Hawk Eye for confirmation so everybody gets the same deal.

    Above two rules would ensure Bowlers get enough wickets and batsman can score bulk of runs too. Other rule that I see that can be scrapped is importance of state of ball. Ball should be changed every 10 overs. Ball tampering goes out-of-window.

  • IlMagnifico on March 8, 2010, 17:05 GMT

    Throw the ball to the ump after every delivery, like in baseball.

  • fadooo on March 8, 2010, 16:49 GMT

    The story about sunscreen seems like a very weak and concocted attempt to make a point and belittle wasim akram in the process. I saw that match and i can remember absolutely nothing of that sort being said in the commentary box. It would be impossible not to remember because it would have raised a storm. It might have been a post commentary afterthought from gavasker, but how in the world did he see something sitting far away in the commentary box that the cameras did not catch. Pratty malicious all this i have to say from rahul.

  • on March 8, 2010, 16:18 GMT

    Krishna_Sydney Said more meaning and sence than this whole and coments combined.

  • Sportz_Freak on March 8, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    I guess if muthiah murali or harbhajan start tampering, it will become legal. All kidding aside.the best way to make things easier for bowlers isnt more rules...just have pitches that arent rolled to a pancake. If there is some life in the pitch, that is enough to make it a fair contest..am not talking about dustbowls but pitches with pace and bounce. And before the inevitable question about why pace + bounce > dustbowl...here is the simple answer. A pich with pace and bounce will technically ease out on day 2 and 3 and then take turn on days 4 and 5 due to natural wear and tear, bowlers footmarks etc. This allows all facets of the game to be on display. (In most cases anyway. I know there are exceptions) A pitch which turns from day one will be a minefield by day 5 (if it goes that far). Aus used to have the best pitches but they are increasingly becoming too batsman friendly. As of now SA probably have the best pitches which is why the cricket played there tends to be of high qlty.

  • voyager on March 8, 2010, 16:10 GMT

    One can argue that 'maintaining' the seam is also maintaining like shinning. It is after all trying to keep the ball as close to its original specs as possible. For shinning it is the surface finish spec for seam it would be dimensional relationship of the seam to rest of the ball.

    Sliva is still inside the body and is almost like an external object. Whereas nail is the integral part of the fingers that delivers the ball.

  • Startthecar334 on March 8, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    I would really take anything gavaskar says with a pinch of salt.

  • Beazle on March 8, 2010, 13:20 GMT

    Well -they legalised chucking in 2004, so whats to stop them legalising ball tampering ?

  • decaby on March 8, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    Then if you say that standing on the ball is illegal ... then i would advocate all players doing that since you cant be banned for the infringment..

  • rzi-BDML on March 8, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    In early 90s Pakistani pace attack was blamed for d ball tempering to swing d ball reverse, but now a days it has become an art after white teams including ENGLAND have been able to reverse d ball. Its juz a matter of time, initially all d new things seem to be ridiculous, but wid d passage of time people do adust there minds wid the issue, Only time will tell what the ball tempering would means in future. Over all a gud debate to start, lets hope we will get some more expert's comments on dis.

  • kim_sanders_world_music on March 8, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    The Noble Old Art Some had rosin in their pockets, Others favoured dirt, Almost all rubbed the ball On the pants or on the shirt. Some used mints, or else hair cream, And bottletops, or so it would seem, And many were skilled at lifting the seam.. May it live on, The ancient skill Of bowlers all, Let's all acknowledge The noble old art Of improving the ball.

    kIM sANDERS

  • celticfrost on March 8, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    How can it be legalized?? And to what extent "tampering" could be allowed. It is like legalizing drugs and then complaining about the drop in the standard of moral behavior of the masses.

    Anybody caught tampering has to be given a raw deal, a suspension or ban so harsh that no bowler dreams of that.

  • Krishna_Sydney on March 8, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    Rahul, what we need to see is some experimentation by the ICC and innovation by ball manufacturers (India, Pakistan, Australia, England?) . Why not try a ball with slightly different quality (hardness/thickness) of leather for either half, so that it supports conventional swing and reverse swing later on ? how about some experimentation with the number of stitiches (increased) on the seam and perhaps an extra circle of stitches or a cross stitch ? The bowlers despertely need some help to combat the batsmen friendly pitches out there here and now. What about allowing a new ball 10 overs earlier? What about allowing the bowler choice of the ball when the ball goes out of shape.

  • Subra on March 8, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    Some teams suck on lozenges and then apply the saliva and (legally) try change the condition of the ball, others use sweat laced with sunblock etc. I have umpired many matches in the local leagues when the ball 'smells', others deliberately bowl a trial ball into a rough in the hope of changing its condition - these are deemed legal. Why can't they allow scratching with one's finger nails? Has there been any rule change that has favoured the bowler? How about lbws regardless of where the ball was pitched to counter for the unnecessary 'pad play' by batsman or is cricket deemed to be a batsman's game with the bowlers as the toilers! Siva from Singapore

  • JAYDE6 on March 8, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    It is very simple to say "Keep it simple". Just spare a thought for the bowlers who break their backs on flat tracks day in and out. Just look at the "subsidies" for batsmen in todays game. 20 overs PP, short boundarys, FLAT wickets, free hits, one bouncer, 2 men behind square, even benefit of doubt. Let the Batsmen EARN their runs. Give something to the bowlers, like, abolishing the 2 men behind square rule, more bouncers, during Bowling PP only. Legalise only suncreens to work on ball. All of these need not be implemented, may be some, to keep it on an EVEN keel. Coz thats what cricket is about, battle between BAT & BALL. No wonder some people dont consider Tendulkar as the greatest, coz he played on flat tracks most of his life(no offence).

  • DrMeister on March 8, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    I think cricket is being spoilt big time - eventually it will be become like football/soccer, they will start swearing at umpires. Cricket needs discipline:

    1. Ban any artifical substance - sun-creams and the lot. Ban chewing gum and mints and anything in mouth on the field bar water 2. Strip status of grounds with pure flat tracks and small boundaries 3. Talking to opposition in any form, and bowler gesturing to batsman should be banned 3. If batsman does not walk for obivous edge and if fielders appeal knowing it did not hit (i.e. no sound) then 3-5 match bans should apply to ALL involved esp batsman 4. Allow only pocketless flannels (trousers) and no towels! 5. For OIDs have 2 powerplays, batting one with fielding restrictions and bowling ones with no fielding restrictions - then test match fielding should be allowed 6. Batsman should always be ready once field is set and bowler at end of run-up 8. If ball pitches in line of stumps and goes legside it should NOT be a wide

  • on March 8, 2010, 7:43 GMT

    It does not matter whether u eat it, bite it, apply sand to rough it up, sun screen, scratch with nails, whatever put vaseline all over it, if you dont know how to Reverse Swing it you can not and till todate I can only name a handful fast bowlers who know this art. Reverse Swing is an art and most important feature of the game and in my theory can only be obtained by altering the condition of the ball, whether you do it by throwing it on the ground, rubbing it with your trousers or you do it with means which are categorized as Ball Tampering. If you want Reverse Swing to be part of International Cricket, then be more liberal on Ball Tampering, if you want this art to be dead than Ban it simple as that. I vote for Reverse Swing to remain !

  • Vroooom on March 8, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    Legalizing ball tampering is ridiculous. You would have teams selecting one member solely based on the strength of his teeth. Maybe players will starting knockning one of their teeth out and replace it with a metallic one for better effect. The best bit would be to use a knife if foreign objects are allowed to cut the ball in half. One half all shiny one all flat and uneven :)

  • Ananthasubramanian_Narayanan on March 8, 2010, 6:51 GMT

    Fantastic article Rahul. The way you have neatly posted your views needs special round of applause. The only way out for ICC to get rid of ball tampering is by getting good cricket pitches for all formats of the game. Else, we might just have one community in cricket called the Batsmen!!!

  • Capt.Hilts on March 8, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    ball tampering can't be legalized but if its true that all teams do that, there is no harm in it, bowlers, fielders appeal for everything when they know batsman are Not Out, is that in spirit of game. Sledging is now what every team does, is that in spirit of game, before some time it was considered "cheating" since only Aussies used to do it. In Tests, times is wasted, over rates are intentionally kept low for a draw, is that spirit.

    Secondly, let T20 be on flat decks. But in all 3 formats, ground size should have a minimum standard, players like McCullum mishitting shot for sixes, he averages 25 outside NZ. Plus for Tests, pitch shouldn't be flat or ground should be banned. 700 runs is not an achievement.

    In ODIs, abolish free hits, fielding and catching restrictions, allow 12 overs per bowler, ban switch hits, scoops and paddle sweeps or let fielder field anywhere they want, 2 men behind square should be eliminated.

    No wonder now tailenders are winning ODIs for teams.

  • on March 8, 2010, 6:36 GMT

    I think it should be legalized to a limit. We never penalize the batsmen for bat tempering, i.e. Gilchrist in the World Cup final with a tiny ball in his glove or Ponting with a special surface on his bat that allowed for balls to bounce further off that bat. Its funny that ever since Ponting stopped using that bat, he has not scored against a major side. Back in the days Indian bowlers used to rub the cricket ball on the ground to make it spin in the first over. I think things like those should be allowed. Cricket is frankly becoming too boring and predictable. I would not be surprised if batting sides scored 800 in ODIs in single innings. Its becoming bland.

  • cric_cric on March 8, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    "Part of the reason one feels sympathy for bowlers, of course, is to do with silly legislation. 'How about something for the bowlers in the game then, Rahul! Say BOWLING POWER PLAY- A bowler can bowl all 6 bouncers in the over or even something like if a batsman fails to score on a given delivery-then the previous delivery's score is not accounted for. In short anything that would aid the bowler and shift all the pressure back to the batsmen at least for the bowling power play.

  • on March 8, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    Instead of changing laws just need to change the kind of ball. ICC should use the different kind of ball like baseball or other hard ball, no anything happened to the ball using rub, shine , nails , teeth the ball should remain same from very first ball till last ball of test match or just legalised the ball tempering.

  • Marktc on March 8, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    I agree, don't legalize it as this would cause further problems in what tools one may use etc. Perhaps the rules should be simple- one may use creams, spit etc to shine the ball, but no damage may be caused. So in essence, the players may use a set number of products to keep the ball in good condition. However, they may not alter it in any way or use anything to rough it up.

  • sid.cmu on March 8, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Really now rahul? Did u really mean anal?

  • yoyoyo on March 8, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    This is more of a hate article than anything else. I believe afridi asked manoj prabhakar before biting the ball and I bet he did tell Afridi that he does taste good. Everyone has been using sunscreen and mint for decades now, it is normal. The pitches are batting friendly,hence records are being broken. how about break bowling records??

  • tpjpower on March 8, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Good article, Rahul. Legalise some tampering and somebody will want to push the boundary a little bit futher. Allow ball biting and Afridi will start carrying cutlery. @ Cricket_Bag: No, Rahul does mean anal, as in anally retentive. It's a common colloquialism which refers to excessive attention to detail and minutiae.

  • amit1807kuwait on March 8, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Among all the games in the world, cricket is a game which has the most number of rules. And that is the reason why it is a complicated game which cannot be embraced by a large number of nations. Adding more rules will further complicate an already over-complicated game. Ball tampering is one of those things which cannot be legalized. Ball-tampering amounts to cheating, and should be allowed to remain so.

  • smartsaket on March 8, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    lol.. anal... i am fairly sure there is some mistake here. anal has no meaning which is not associated with the anus. If you're talking about cricket becoming a pain in the anus.. thus getting more and more anal... well, might be quite right. Or maybe is it about the camaraderie among cricketers.. the mind boggles at the possibilities.

  • McGorium on March 8, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    @cricket_bag: No, I think he means anal, as a shortening of "anal retentive"... means someone who is annoying because of too much attention to minutae. It's slang, and not proper English of course.

  • karth500 on March 8, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    To see the delivery that Rahul's talking about - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFyTUob8LF0&feature=related

    It's in the first 10 seconds of the video. It truly is amazing to see how Akram could make the ball dance to his tune during his prime. Sad we haven't had a similar proponent of the art since Akram/Younis retired.

  • KhanXpress on March 8, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    The tools are never as important then the art itself. Players like Afridi who resort to manipulating the tool to change the art are misguided, misinformed and have yet to see the light of true artistry. If ball tampering is legalized then we may as well legalizing chucking, swearing, bodyline as these might all help bowlers in the gentleman game. Should be therefore rename cricket to khit-khit (meaning fighting in vernacular) or better still "hit-hit". What say you Mr Afridi? Allah Hafiz and God Bless. This is Mohammad signing off from Dallas.

  • Cricket_Bag on March 8, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    Rahul..Did you mean 'banal' it will become????

  • ww113 on March 8, 2010, 3:34 GMT

    Agreed,Rahul.Ball tampering should not be legalised.I don't think it will be.As for Afridi's bite,it was a very daft thing to do.

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  • ww113 on March 8, 2010, 3:34 GMT

    Agreed,Rahul.Ball tampering should not be legalised.I don't think it will be.As for Afridi's bite,it was a very daft thing to do.

  • Cricket_Bag on March 8, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    Rahul..Did you mean 'banal' it will become????

  • KhanXpress on March 8, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    The tools are never as important then the art itself. Players like Afridi who resort to manipulating the tool to change the art are misguided, misinformed and have yet to see the light of true artistry. If ball tampering is legalized then we may as well legalizing chucking, swearing, bodyline as these might all help bowlers in the gentleman game. Should be therefore rename cricket to khit-khit (meaning fighting in vernacular) or better still "hit-hit". What say you Mr Afridi? Allah Hafiz and God Bless. This is Mohammad signing off from Dallas.

  • karth500 on March 8, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    To see the delivery that Rahul's talking about - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFyTUob8LF0&feature=related

    It's in the first 10 seconds of the video. It truly is amazing to see how Akram could make the ball dance to his tune during his prime. Sad we haven't had a similar proponent of the art since Akram/Younis retired.

  • McGorium on March 8, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    @cricket_bag: No, I think he means anal, as a shortening of "anal retentive"... means someone who is annoying because of too much attention to minutae. It's slang, and not proper English of course.

  • smartsaket on March 8, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    lol.. anal... i am fairly sure there is some mistake here. anal has no meaning which is not associated with the anus. If you're talking about cricket becoming a pain in the anus.. thus getting more and more anal... well, might be quite right. Or maybe is it about the camaraderie among cricketers.. the mind boggles at the possibilities.

  • amit1807kuwait on March 8, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Among all the games in the world, cricket is a game which has the most number of rules. And that is the reason why it is a complicated game which cannot be embraced by a large number of nations. Adding more rules will further complicate an already over-complicated game. Ball tampering is one of those things which cannot be legalized. Ball-tampering amounts to cheating, and should be allowed to remain so.

  • tpjpower on March 8, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Good article, Rahul. Legalise some tampering and somebody will want to push the boundary a little bit futher. Allow ball biting and Afridi will start carrying cutlery. @ Cricket_Bag: No, Rahul does mean anal, as in anally retentive. It's a common colloquialism which refers to excessive attention to detail and minutiae.

  • yoyoyo on March 8, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    This is more of a hate article than anything else. I believe afridi asked manoj prabhakar before biting the ball and I bet he did tell Afridi that he does taste good. Everyone has been using sunscreen and mint for decades now, it is normal. The pitches are batting friendly,hence records are being broken. how about break bowling records??

  • sid.cmu on March 8, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Really now rahul? Did u really mean anal?