October 29, 2013

What's the fuss about ball-tampering anyway?

Maybe it's time to take away the layers of morality and shrillness around it and treat it like the low-grade offence it is
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Years ago, a former Pakistani cricketer tells the story, one ingenious Pakistani mind wondered whether sandpaper could be stitched onto cricket trousers. It could be camouflaged white somehow, so that, as you rubbed the ball onto the thigh, ostensibly to shine it, you were actually roughing up one side. As far as I'm aware the idea never went past being an idea, remaining a stray musing.

The story came to mind as Zippergate - pardon this pun - unzipped itself to the world, mostly because it is difficult to believe that ball-tampering can be anything other than deliberate. If David Boon really believes Faf du Plessis did not mean to do what the world clearly saw him do, then he's probably one of those poor souls who believes the word "gullible" is not in the dictionary.

The more you look at the footage, the clearer the intent. Inspecting ball and trousers so closely, rubbing the ball so vigorously against the zipper: These are not the unthinking actions of a careless cricketer. Instead, like the sandpapered trousers, they are a reminder of the ingenuity that goes into "preparing" balls. It is not unlike the stories of stray coins finding their way into the pockets of genius fast bowlers, and now, in retrospect, zippers seem like such an obvious aid it is unimaginable that they haven't been used before.

In light of previous punishments, mostly to Pakistani players like Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar, but also to, say, Sachin Tendulkar, it isn't unfair to ask how du Plessis got off lightly. South Africa were smarter in their defence and Boon bought into it: Afridi, for one, admitted that he bit the ball deliberately to tamper it. Du Plessis just admitted the ball's condition had been changed but not that he deliberately tampered it. These are differences in interpretations, Boon's against that of Ranjan Madugalle (who banned Afridi), and also of Clive Lloyd, who fined Rahul Dravid 50% of his match fee in 2004 after finding him guilty of applying a cough lozenge to the ball. It is also not misplaced to question why these interpretations should differ, especially as Boon seems to have missed additional footage of another player possibly scratching the ball, footage that would have rigorously questioned the conclusion that du Plessis' was not part of a "deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the ball".

But it feels more important to move on from debating the quantum of punishments and instead to try imagining a future that suppresses entirely the morality and shrillness around tampering. South Africa's approach, in trying to dress it up as something accidental that they would never deliberately do, shows that not only is it still not okay to tamper the ball, but, more importantly perhaps, it is not thought or perceived to be okay to be seen tampering the ball. It would be an assumption to extrapolate from here and conclude that he who doesn't tamper is simply he who doesn't get caught. It's as likely as not that other sides still do it when they can - at all levels of the professional game - but it'd be nice to imagine a future where players didn't have to pretend they did it by accident.

An empty stadium in Dubai, away from much of cricket's glare, in a low-intensity two-Test series between two sides with little friction; it felt like the ideal lab in which to de-demonise ball-tampering. That is not quite the same as calling for legalisation. That is a useful pursuit philosophically but is far too troublesome in reality. What do you allow as tools to tamper? Just fingernails, or are foreign objects all right? Should there be a limit to how much you gouge off with a long nail? When can you start doing it? Should you have designated gougers and scratchers? What is natural? Sand? Mud?

It is, instead, a call for a spiritual decriminalisation; that is, it remains a legal transgression, but let's be pretty chilled about it and tolerate it as a low-grade misdemeanour, that is often an unavoidable by-product of competitive sport. Punish players - preferably with a sense of scale and uniformity - and move on.

It feels more important to move on from debating the quantum of punishments and instead to try imagining a future that suppresses entirely the morality and shrillness around tampering

Far more intriguing about Zippergate is how it came to light. It was apparently a TV commentator who, having spotted something on the field and then noted reverse swing, asked the broadcaster to keep an eye on the bowlers and du Plessis, the designated shiner, specifically. He was the only commentator who saw it, initially suspecting fingernail scratching, but the cameras got something better. Once images had been captured, they were shown several times on the request of at least two commentators and it was only then that the footage was shown to TV umpire Paul Reiffel, who decided to alert the on-field umpires, who took swift and unfussy action.

That a broadcaster has taken the lead in spotting tampering has happened before, but it pushes their role in cricket into further grey, and eminently interesting, areas. TV, through the DRS, already has a say in how a match is shaped and even decided, when it didn't necessarily sign up for the role in the first place. This case is a further step there, raising in the process a central question about who broadcasters answer to ultimately. Is it the television viewer? The fan in the stand? The boards they pay money to in the hope of making money off? A broader sense of justice? Cricket itself?

As a final thought, it is comforting to know cricket isn't alone. A day before du Plessis, Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox found himself at the centre of a pitch-doctoring controversy (not what should happen to modern-day cricket surfaces, of course, but baseball's term for ball-tampering) during game one of the World Series. Lester (eventually cleared) appeared to have a foreign substance on the inside of his glove, which he then put onto his fingers before pitching. Pitch-doctoring has an old, colourful history, and somehow baseball has managed to create even more grey, because apparently substances that allow pitchers to grip the ball better are fine, but substances that make the ball behave differently (hello, Vaseline) are not.

From this distance, baseball, like cricket, loiters in the middle, between outrage and acceptance - maybe even celebration, if the life and times of Gaylord Perry are any guide - of something that just is, and please, can we move on? The latter seems to have been the policy of Tony La Russa, one-time manager of the St Louis Cardinals.

During a World Series game in 2006, cameras caught what appeared to be a smudge, potentially of a foreign substance, on the palm of Kenny Rogers, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. The implication was that Rogers could have been doctoring the ball. La Russa doused matters by prompting the umpires to ask Rogers to simply wipe it off and continue the game. The Tigers won the game but the Cardinals the World Series.

"I said, 'I don't like this stuff, let's get it fixed,'" La Russa said the day after the game. "If it gets fixed let's play the game. It got fixed, in my opinion. If he didn't get rid of it, I would have challenged it. But I do think it's a little bit part of the game at times and don't go crazy."

It's not unsound advice.

Osman Samiuddin is a sportswriter at the National

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    Can't say I agree. If we lessen the harshness of penalties because of a 'part of the game' attitude, then why even have penalties for ball tampering at all? You'll be turning a blind eye in effect, and as soon as a player decides they're going to try to get away with it (even if they do get caught and suffer a slap on the wrist) others will see that the only way to level the playing field will be to do the same, and by then it will be rife. You should match the penalty with the severity of its consequence, and in cricket if you have a ball that suddenly can swing a mile it significantly affects team batting, meaning wickets are lost easier and the match can turn on its head.

  • POSTED BY omerimtiaz on | October 30, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Newtons law failed here action and reaction are not equal in muagnitude even not opposite in direction this states all what happened during the test match

  • POSTED BY Naseer on | October 30, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    There has been a lot of debate over ball tempering, and its penalties, I think penalties should be decided as per the impact that the ball tempering had on that particlar match, for example if a team is batting well and suddenly when the ball gets old it starts reverse swinging and the batting team collapse or loses some wickets and suddenly TV footage shows ball tempering in that case very serious and sever penalties should be applied. measures should be taken to minimize the impact that ball tempering had on that particular game. but if ball tempering was spotted in a match like the one in Dubai between pak and SAf, then if the punishment is not that sever it will be ok, because pak lost the plot at start of their first inning when ball was new, ball tempering did not have any significant impact on the match but anyhow, because it hurts credibality of the game, it is necssry to warn the culprit for the first time that he will be banned for certain time if he repeats the appalling ac

  • POSTED BY MrGarreth on | October 30, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    I tend to agree to an extent. Sure one has to draw the line and you certainly don't want cricketers rocking up with knives, carving the ball to pieces. But a bit of a scratch here and there? Why not? A zipper cannot change the shape of the ball and if it did then that would be conflicting with another rule that dictates the shape of the ball should be able to fit through the hoop apparatus that the umpires keep on them. I used to be indifferent toward ball tampering until I saw how the administrators were unfairly changing so many of the rules to fit the batters. To make it even more of a batters game than it is. If you need to scratch it up a bit to reverse it go ahead. I think lot of folks moral radar is completely skewed in this case. Guys like Dravid, Atherton and Tendulkar (supposed high-esteemed ambassadors of the game) have 'tampered' with the ball so that should say something. It's very pedantic to expect nature to scuff up the ball and not an individual. That's just ridiculous

  • POSTED BY Insult_2_Injury on | October 30, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    Personally, I think it's lame for professionals not to be able to use the natural ball and adjust to it's changes as an innings progresses. Hard to tell if zippering is team sanctioned, but why is there designated 'ball shiners' other than a bowler anyway? Give the thing to the guy who slings it, at least then he can learn what he can do with it in all conditions. That might just make them better bowlers, rather than this fixation that a ball has to be artificially aged to get reverse swing after 15 overs, just because the conditions aren't ideally conducive to normal swing. With the risk management brigade ironing away side on actions, the natural swingers are now leaving the game and the frenzy for reverse has replaced natural swing in all but most favourable conditions. Who knows, with new restrictions heaped on bowlers every month, maybe it's time to allow roughing the ball to be no different than shining it.

  • POSTED BY Engle on | October 30, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    How is vigorously rubbing a ball on your leg, sport ? How is it exciting, or watchable or thrilling or gripping or any of the myriad of emotions one feels watching a sporting contest ? A magnificent catch, an elegant boundary, a deceiving delivery, an explosive castling. This is sport. Rubbing ball on leg, I'm afraid, is not sport.

  • POSTED BY Jonathan_E on | October 29, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    Actually, conventional swing *is* possible with a perfect ball - particularly those varieties with more prominent seams, where it is the position of the seam as the ball travels through the air that determines the direction of swing.

    Of course, such a seam also assists the fast bowler to get movement off the pitch.

    But of late, there has been a tendency towards cricket balls having a less prominent seam.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | October 29, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    It needs to be decriminalised to be honest, no use of foreign objects, but spit and human nail is fine. The bats have improved as has the protective gear, the spinner is now allowed to chuck but the fast bowler has gained nothing - is it such a surprise that we have so few decent fast bowlers these days, you would be mad to want to be one these days.

    @first Drop, both teams get to bowl also...?

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    @foozball - both teams get to bat - therefore better bats benefit both teams...

  • POSTED BY santoshjohnsamuel on | October 29, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Finally someone influential spoke up about the unnecessary fuss being made over what essentially is not cheating but inappropriate use of the word 'tampering'. A bowler should be allowed to use all the right means -- dirt, spit, grass, trousers, shining one side -- to gain an advantage. It is for the batsman to figure out how to overcome it -- that is what the game is all about. What should be ruled out and wrong is use of any external help -- cream, studs, stones, or even teeth -- anything that changes the shape of the ball; that's tampering and it needs to be dealt with appropriately. But for cricket's sake please do away with ideas and suggestions that make it some kind of kid's game -- the kind where the batsman is informed about what the next delivery is going to be!

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    Can't say I agree. If we lessen the harshness of penalties because of a 'part of the game' attitude, then why even have penalties for ball tampering at all? You'll be turning a blind eye in effect, and as soon as a player decides they're going to try to get away with it (even if they do get caught and suffer a slap on the wrist) others will see that the only way to level the playing field will be to do the same, and by then it will be rife. You should match the penalty with the severity of its consequence, and in cricket if you have a ball that suddenly can swing a mile it significantly affects team batting, meaning wickets are lost easier and the match can turn on its head.

  • POSTED BY omerimtiaz on | October 30, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Newtons law failed here action and reaction are not equal in muagnitude even not opposite in direction this states all what happened during the test match

  • POSTED BY Naseer on | October 30, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    There has been a lot of debate over ball tempering, and its penalties, I think penalties should be decided as per the impact that the ball tempering had on that particlar match, for example if a team is batting well and suddenly when the ball gets old it starts reverse swinging and the batting team collapse or loses some wickets and suddenly TV footage shows ball tempering in that case very serious and sever penalties should be applied. measures should be taken to minimize the impact that ball tempering had on that particular game. but if ball tempering was spotted in a match like the one in Dubai between pak and SAf, then if the punishment is not that sever it will be ok, because pak lost the plot at start of their first inning when ball was new, ball tempering did not have any significant impact on the match but anyhow, because it hurts credibality of the game, it is necssry to warn the culprit for the first time that he will be banned for certain time if he repeats the appalling ac

  • POSTED BY MrGarreth on | October 30, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    I tend to agree to an extent. Sure one has to draw the line and you certainly don't want cricketers rocking up with knives, carving the ball to pieces. But a bit of a scratch here and there? Why not? A zipper cannot change the shape of the ball and if it did then that would be conflicting with another rule that dictates the shape of the ball should be able to fit through the hoop apparatus that the umpires keep on them. I used to be indifferent toward ball tampering until I saw how the administrators were unfairly changing so many of the rules to fit the batters. To make it even more of a batters game than it is. If you need to scratch it up a bit to reverse it go ahead. I think lot of folks moral radar is completely skewed in this case. Guys like Dravid, Atherton and Tendulkar (supposed high-esteemed ambassadors of the game) have 'tampered' with the ball so that should say something. It's very pedantic to expect nature to scuff up the ball and not an individual. That's just ridiculous

  • POSTED BY Insult_2_Injury on | October 30, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    Personally, I think it's lame for professionals not to be able to use the natural ball and adjust to it's changes as an innings progresses. Hard to tell if zippering is team sanctioned, but why is there designated 'ball shiners' other than a bowler anyway? Give the thing to the guy who slings it, at least then he can learn what he can do with it in all conditions. That might just make them better bowlers, rather than this fixation that a ball has to be artificially aged to get reverse swing after 15 overs, just because the conditions aren't ideally conducive to normal swing. With the risk management brigade ironing away side on actions, the natural swingers are now leaving the game and the frenzy for reverse has replaced natural swing in all but most favourable conditions. Who knows, with new restrictions heaped on bowlers every month, maybe it's time to allow roughing the ball to be no different than shining it.

  • POSTED BY Engle on | October 30, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    How is vigorously rubbing a ball on your leg, sport ? How is it exciting, or watchable or thrilling or gripping or any of the myriad of emotions one feels watching a sporting contest ? A magnificent catch, an elegant boundary, a deceiving delivery, an explosive castling. This is sport. Rubbing ball on leg, I'm afraid, is not sport.

  • POSTED BY Jonathan_E on | October 29, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    Actually, conventional swing *is* possible with a perfect ball - particularly those varieties with more prominent seams, where it is the position of the seam as the ball travels through the air that determines the direction of swing.

    Of course, such a seam also assists the fast bowler to get movement off the pitch.

    But of late, there has been a tendency towards cricket balls having a less prominent seam.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | October 29, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    It needs to be decriminalised to be honest, no use of foreign objects, but spit and human nail is fine. The bats have improved as has the protective gear, the spinner is now allowed to chuck but the fast bowler has gained nothing - is it such a surprise that we have so few decent fast bowlers these days, you would be mad to want to be one these days.

    @first Drop, both teams get to bowl also...?

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    @foozball - both teams get to bat - therefore better bats benefit both teams...

  • POSTED BY santoshjohnsamuel on | October 29, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    Finally someone influential spoke up about the unnecessary fuss being made over what essentially is not cheating but inappropriate use of the word 'tampering'. A bowler should be allowed to use all the right means -- dirt, spit, grass, trousers, shining one side -- to gain an advantage. It is for the batsman to figure out how to overcome it -- that is what the game is all about. What should be ruled out and wrong is use of any external help -- cream, studs, stones, or even teeth -- anything that changes the shape of the ball; that's tampering and it needs to be dealt with appropriately. But for cricket's sake please do away with ideas and suggestions that make it some kind of kid's game -- the kind where the batsman is informed about what the next delivery is going to be!

  • POSTED BY NinnyMouseHaiHai on | October 29, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    Nice article. Well done. osmaan ji, isn't this a team activity? someone does it but others know it too? if FafduP did it, it was not for himself. I guess the captain would know this too. WHy only FafduP is punished?

  • POSTED BY NBhatri on | October 29, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    Can someone explain why spitting on the ball and then rubbing it ones trousers to shine only one side of it is not considered ball tampering ? Can someone explain why a batsmen - injured during play - is not allowed a runner, but a fielder can walk off any time and get in a substitute ? Can someone explain why batsmen are asked by umpires to speed up between overs, but bowlers can go to the boundary line and have a drink brought by the 12th man ?

  • POSTED BY foozball on | October 29, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    @First_Drop can you explain how better bats are in the bowling team's interest? They gain some sort of advantage in edges flying for 6?

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    @Gelvelsis: If flat tracks are the problem, why are you suggesting legalising ball tamperiing? Legalising ball tampering doesn't treat the problem - it avoids the problem altogether.

  • POSTED BY Gevelsis on | October 29, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    Thank you Osman, this really needed to be said. How refreshing to see that some comments agree with you. This really is a storm in a teacup. It seems that some people won't be happy until fast bowlers are obsolete, having been driven into the ground by lifeless pitches and all the flat track bullies with their 'magic' bats.

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    Technically polishing ball on trousers is ball tampering as is using dirt from pitch. Both of which are currently legal, ICC needs to define clearly what players can do with the ball. Once players and coaches know exactly what is legal they can then use legal methods to use ball to their advantage. Swing and reverse swing is not possible with a perfect ball, these are arts of the game and players need to learn how to master the art of bowling these as well as how to get ball to swing by altering it within legal framework.

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    poorely thought through article. @Rahul_78 - nobody minds the adavantages that are presented to both teams. Better bats, shorter boundaries are their for both teams in the match. Ball tamperiing is very specifically designed to favour one team.

  • POSTED BY First_Drop on | October 29, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    Low grade offence???!! How is an illegal activity that can change a test match be a 'low grade offence'? By the same argument, would Olympic athlete's be allowed to dope? Tour de France cyclists as well? The resounding answer has been 'No'. Cricket is about skill with the bat and the ball, not about who is best at changing the shape of the ball to help their bowlers. It sounds like there sshould be closer and better scrutiny of the fielders and the ball - and we now have the technology to do it. And BTW, if you want to stop [players doing it, hand out harsher punishments - suspend the player and the captain - that'll stop it immediately.

  • POSTED BY Marktc on | October 29, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    I see he arguments for making it legal, but I remain opposed to ball tampering. Granted the scales are weighed in favour of the batsmen at the moment, but cheating is not the answer. I am sure most teams do it to an extent, they just have not been caught yet. I think punishment should be felt. Perhaps the player is immediately removed from the game and the side has to play with one less for the duration of the test. Then the entire team fined 50-100% of their match fees.

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Osman, cant agree with you, how could you justify ball tampering? Changing the original condition of the ball just get some extra movement?? An offense is an offense, be it ball tampering or anything like that! Period!

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    What a strange article. You say that it should be decriminalized and then don't provide any real argument for the case whatsoever. It's just a sort of "Eh, why not?" attitude. I think the ICC would need more than that to go off!

  • POSTED BY Rahul_78 on | October 29, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Nobody is blaming the bat makers who are staying within the ICC limits but coming up with willows that allows mis hit to travel 80 meters. Nobody is accusing groundsmen who are reducing the boundries to mere 50-55 meters. Different batmsen are allowed to use different bats (of different weight, handle and grips) then why the bowlers are provided with the uniform balls. We need to understand that swing and spin is an art and very much part of cricket. With todays technologies ICC should allow the ball makers to experiment with the ball and may be come up with balls with different colors and different fabricks that will alow it swing and / or spin more.Why not allow to play test cricket with color balls and change the balls after 60 overs instead of 80. Why not provide bowlers with some things to help him against the evolving equpments for batsmen. May be we should just legalise altering the conditions of the ball to an acceptable level after certain no of overs in Test and ODIs.

  • POSTED BY Stark62 on | October 29, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    The icc are going to ban zips after SA's ball tampering incident but what about nails?!?!

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    In the past batsmen had been the victim of fast bowlers but now fast bowling has been the most victimised part of the game. A fast bowler's cricket life is shorter (unless he is an all rounder). Whereas now the game is totally favouring the batsmen (Power Plays, no. of bouncers, field restrictions, batting suiltable pitches etc). Cricket evolved into the batsmen game because the high scoring games last for full overs each inning & crowd loves the thrilling ends. However the balance of competition (such as between Shoaib & Tendulkar) should remain so that we have quality bowlers in future otherwise late inswining yorkers would only be seen in videos.

  • POSTED BY TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on | October 29, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Cricket fans enjoy cricket because of the batting, bowling and fielding skills and not because of any "skill" with a fingernail, zip or knife. Things other than a true and wholehearted test of batting, bowling or fielding that fix a match will be a turn-off for any real fan. That includes wicket fixing as suggested by @Jason Bray.

  • POSTED BY zarasochozarasamjho on | October 29, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Cannot agree with with Osman this time. Ball tampering should always remain banned. The biggest reason is that once it is allowed then there is no end to the level and extent of tampering. Would it be ok, for example, to hammer in big nails into the ball - better still, nails of various head sizes to give the ball further swing? Pakistan is credited with the greatest inputs in the modern game, including reverse swing, doosras, teesras, reverse shot, toe-crushers etc. Funny to note while Pakistani bowlers, who are masters of reverse swing, could not get the ball to reverse swing while Steyn managed it from the first ball (it takes many overs before one can get the ball to reverse swing as it needs time to keep one side rough and just polish the other side). The penalty of 5 runs is a non-sense and shows weak intelligence of the ICC. It is useful in a run chase of say 15 runs, and pathetic when you are chasing 500. Finally, ICC's Policy: punishment is always higher for south asian teams.

  • POSTED BY Dirk_L on | October 29, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    The problem with unsolicited TV evidence is that it is not neutral. This can be seen more clearly in other sports such as rugby, where off-the-ball incidents perpetrated by the visiting team but not by the home team are often shown, but it applies to cricket too.

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    i think penalty is not an issue here. to me most important thing is the clean chit given by match referee that FAF did not do it intentionally. Now how he reached that decision is very strange. i think most will agree that it looked very much intentional. he rubbed other side away from zip then the stretches his trouser to take zip out and rub ball over it. all the time his head was down and looking at what he was doing. ICC have explained various on field decisions and tv umpires decision in past so why not explain match referee's decision. what evidence he saw to rule him innocent. Afridi's was total wrong he can not hide behind rubbing/preparing ball thing. But shoaib akhter was banned for 2 games because of scratching the ball.

  • POSTED BY MrGarreth on | October 29, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    I tend to agree to an extent. Sure one has to draw the line and you certainly don't want cricketers rocking up with knives, carving the ball to pieces. But a bit of a scratch here and there? Why not? A zipper cannot change the shape of the ball and if it did then that would be conflicting with another rule that dictates the shape of the ball should be able to fit through the hoop apparatus that the umpires keep on them. I used to be indifferent toward ball tampering until I saw how the administrators were unfairly changing so many of the rules to fit the batters. To make it even more of a batters game than it is. If you need to scratch it up a bit to reverse it go ahead. I think lot of folks moral radar is completely skewed in this case. Guys like Dravid, Atherton and Tendulkar (supposed high-esteemed ambassadors of the game) have 'tampered' with the ball so that should say something. It's very pedantic to expect nature to scuff up the ball and not an individual. That's just ridiculous

  • POSTED BY liz1558 on | October 29, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    As you rightly point out, legalizing ball tampering is impossible and pointless. The key to the problem is finding an appropriate punishment, and the best punishment is one that eradicates the problem. Rather than demonizing an individual, it should be taken that the whole team is conspiring and should be punished together. Any advantage gained in the match could be overturned and the match situation restored to parity. For instance Pakistan would've been awarded 418 penalty runs on first innings. All performance records in the game could also be expunged for the ball tampering side, and if it were in a losing cause, the team and management would have to pay five times their match fee in fines. No one would ever cheat again.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | October 29, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    @JasonBray, curator has to " prepare" pitches. There are lots of ways to prepare pitches. If he chooses one method who is there to argue with him. He might get input from the captain or he himself decides how he wants the pitch to behave. It is not doctoring.

  • POSTED BY Bubba2008 on | October 29, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    This is ridiculous. First of all, let's not ignore the condescending attitude towards David Boon. That kind of alienation of a professional who tried to see the best in the accused party is immature, and only serves to weaken the already fragile argument on which this article is founded.

    As opposed to the belief or understanding of many, the traditional shining of the ball is in no way illegal and has never been. It is simply an attempt to maintain the condition in which the ball was first presented, thus giving the bowlers no untoward advantages which were not already available. Scratching, picking the seam, or otherwise altering the surface in a damaging way is blatantly illegal and is used only with intent to give the bowler an unfair advantage which can severely influence the balance of a match.

    While I don't condone what Mr. Plessis did, it is still no reason to abolish such measures which are only instilled to maintain the balance between bat and ball.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | October 29, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Having seen the video evidence just recently, I find it very hard to believe that du Plessis didn't rub the ball against the zipper on his trousers intentionally. He would have been able to feel the zipper being pressed into his leg so, if it had been accidental, he would have stopped. I can see how the penalty applied would be appropriate if it was not an intentional act but it's hard to see that video and believe that it wasn't intentional. I guess that it's just that much harder to prove compared to someone biting the ball when players rub the ball on their trousers all the time.

    As for whether ball-tampering should be taken as seriously as it is, I think that it should. I think that cricket would be far better off taking certain other things more seriously than ball-tampering less so.

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Why is ball tampering such a sin and yet doctoring wickets or "wicket tampering" not? In some ways tampering with wickets under the instruction of boards, coaches and national captains is far worse

  • POSTED BY sifter132 on | October 29, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    I don't agree at all. A) you'd start all sorts of tampering experiments that no one wants to see - like sandpapered trousers, bottle tops smuggled onto the field, ball biting between deliveries etc. Those kind of ideas needs to be stamped out ASAP, cricketers aren't thugs or butchers. If bowlers think the ball isn't doing enough, lobby the lawmakers to give them something more responsive that EVERY team can use, and B) this seems like the increasingly popular, ''oh the poor bowlers' argument. If this was a batsman using a bat that was a few cm wider or a wicket keeper using gloves with Stickum sprayed on the inside, I think there might be even more outrage, and that for something that influences the game much less than a ball that suddenly starts reversing. Reverse is often the only weapon a bowling team has, and to be able to 'produce' it at will is a huge strategic advantage.

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | October 29, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    It is preposterous to allow bowlers and fielders to rub the ball on their trousers or any surface, with an obvious intent of changing the nature of the ball. This happens so openly and happening all these decades - a clear contravention to the rules which say that the ball shall not be tampered. Rubbing the ball with the intention of inducing a shine is a clear attempt to tamper the ball. ICC should ensure that the ball is bowled on an as-is basis after every ball. For whatever the reason the ball needs to be wiped then the umpire could do it and pass it on to the bowler.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | October 29, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    Osman, don't know if you read comments from other articles but I repeat here, why not let the manufacturers of the cricket ball "prepare" the ball with oneside shiny and other side roughed up. Use the current shiny ball for the first 40 overs in a test match and the manufacturer roughed up ball for the next 40 overs.(25/25 in odi). This way no team is disadvantaged and the players don't have to "prepare" the ball using illegal methods.

    Bats have evolved over course of history to give better performances, why can't the balls?

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | October 29, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    Osman, don't know if you read comments from other articles but I repeat here, why not let the manufacturers of the cricket ball "prepare" the ball with oneside shiny and other side roughed up. Use the current shiny ball for the first 40 overs in a test match and the manufacturer roughed up ball for the next 40 overs.(25/25 in odi). This way no team is disadvantaged and the players don't have to "prepare" the ball using illegal methods.

    Bats have evolved over course of history to give better performances, why can't the balls?

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | October 29, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    It is preposterous to allow bowlers and fielders to rub the ball on their trousers or any surface, with an obvious intent of changing the nature of the ball. This happens so openly and happening all these decades - a clear contravention to the rules which say that the ball shall not be tampered. Rubbing the ball with the intention of inducing a shine is a clear attempt to tamper the ball. ICC should ensure that the ball is bowled on an as-is basis after every ball. For whatever the reason the ball needs to be wiped then the umpire could do it and pass it on to the bowler.

  • POSTED BY sifter132 on | October 29, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    I don't agree at all. A) you'd start all sorts of tampering experiments that no one wants to see - like sandpapered trousers, bottle tops smuggled onto the field, ball biting between deliveries etc. Those kind of ideas needs to be stamped out ASAP, cricketers aren't thugs or butchers. If bowlers think the ball isn't doing enough, lobby the lawmakers to give them something more responsive that EVERY team can use, and B) this seems like the increasingly popular, ''oh the poor bowlers' argument. If this was a batsman using a bat that was a few cm wider or a wicket keeper using gloves with Stickum sprayed on the inside, I think there might be even more outrage, and that for something that influences the game much less than a ball that suddenly starts reversing. Reverse is often the only weapon a bowling team has, and to be able to 'produce' it at will is a huge strategic advantage.

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Why is ball tampering such a sin and yet doctoring wickets or "wicket tampering" not? In some ways tampering with wickets under the instruction of boards, coaches and national captains is far worse

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | October 29, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Having seen the video evidence just recently, I find it very hard to believe that du Plessis didn't rub the ball against the zipper on his trousers intentionally. He would have been able to feel the zipper being pressed into his leg so, if it had been accidental, he would have stopped. I can see how the penalty applied would be appropriate if it was not an intentional act but it's hard to see that video and believe that it wasn't intentional. I guess that it's just that much harder to prove compared to someone biting the ball when players rub the ball on their trousers all the time.

    As for whether ball-tampering should be taken as seriously as it is, I think that it should. I think that cricket would be far better off taking certain other things more seriously than ball-tampering less so.

  • POSTED BY Bubba2008 on | October 29, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    This is ridiculous. First of all, let's not ignore the condescending attitude towards David Boon. That kind of alienation of a professional who tried to see the best in the accused party is immature, and only serves to weaken the already fragile argument on which this article is founded.

    As opposed to the belief or understanding of many, the traditional shining of the ball is in no way illegal and has never been. It is simply an attempt to maintain the condition in which the ball was first presented, thus giving the bowlers no untoward advantages which were not already available. Scratching, picking the seam, or otherwise altering the surface in a damaging way is blatantly illegal and is used only with intent to give the bowler an unfair advantage which can severely influence the balance of a match.

    While I don't condone what Mr. Plessis did, it is still no reason to abolish such measures which are only instilled to maintain the balance between bat and ball.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | October 29, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    @JasonBray, curator has to " prepare" pitches. There are lots of ways to prepare pitches. If he chooses one method who is there to argue with him. He might get input from the captain or he himself decides how he wants the pitch to behave. It is not doctoring.

  • POSTED BY liz1558 on | October 29, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    As you rightly point out, legalizing ball tampering is impossible and pointless. The key to the problem is finding an appropriate punishment, and the best punishment is one that eradicates the problem. Rather than demonizing an individual, it should be taken that the whole team is conspiring and should be punished together. Any advantage gained in the match could be overturned and the match situation restored to parity. For instance Pakistan would've been awarded 418 penalty runs on first innings. All performance records in the game could also be expunged for the ball tampering side, and if it were in a losing cause, the team and management would have to pay five times their match fee in fines. No one would ever cheat again.

  • POSTED BY MrGarreth on | October 29, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    I tend to agree to an extent. Sure one has to draw the line and you certainly don't want cricketers rocking up with knives, carving the ball to pieces. But a bit of a scratch here and there? Why not? A zipper cannot change the shape of the ball and if it did then that would be conflicting with another rule that dictates the shape of the ball should be able to fit through the hoop apparatus that the umpires keep on them. I used to be indifferent toward ball tampering until I saw how the administrators were unfairly changing so many of the rules to fit the batters. To make it even more of a batters game than it is. If you need to scratch it up a bit to reverse it go ahead. I think lot of folks moral radar is completely skewed in this case. Guys like Dravid, Atherton and Tendulkar (supposed high-esteemed ambassadors of the game) have 'tampered' with the ball so that should say something. It's very pedantic to expect nature to scuff up the ball and not an individual. That's just ridiculous

  • POSTED BY on | October 29, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    i think penalty is not an issue here. to me most important thing is the clean chit given by match referee that FAF did not do it intentionally. Now how he reached that decision is very strange. i think most will agree that it looked very much intentional. he rubbed other side away from zip then the stretches his trouser to take zip out and rub ball over it. all the time his head was down and looking at what he was doing. ICC have explained various on field decisions and tv umpires decision in past so why not explain match referee's decision. what evidence he saw to rule him innocent. Afridi's was total wrong he can not hide behind rubbing/preparing ball thing. But shoaib akhter was banned for 2 games because of scratching the ball.