Sheffield Shield 2015-16 March 29, 2016

Lewis fined for ball tampering


The on-field umpires talk to captain Matthew Wade before penalising Victoria for ball tampering © Getty Images

Victoria's bowling coach Mick Lewis is on his last behavioural warning from the Bushrangers after being fined $2,266 for tampering with the ball on day three of the Sheffield Shield final against South Australia at Glenelg Oval.

In the 10th over of SA's second innings Mark Cosgrove struck a boundary, and a Cricket Australia video camera captured Lewis kicked the match ball into the gutter beyond the boundary rope before he scraped the ball across the concrete when retrieving it.

When the ball was returned to the field after another boundary in the 12th over, it was inspected by the umpires, Paul Wilson and Mick Martell. They decided that the ball's condition had been changed illegally and added five runs to South Australia's second innings score. A substitute ball was then called for. After play Lewis admitted to his offence and the match referee Steve Bernard imposed the fine without needing to hold a code of conduct hearing.

"Ball tampering is a very serious offence and simply won't be tolerated at any level of the game," CA head of cricket operations Sean Cary said. "Match Referee Steve Bernard addressed the matter as soon as it was brought to his attention, spoke at length to Mick Lewis about it and has handed down the subsequent penalty.

"We acknowledge that he has apologised to the South Australian team and the match officials and hope the matter deters others from doing anything like this in the future."

Lewis, who had a mixed disciplinary record during his time as a pace bowler for Victoria and occasionally Australia, was also spoken to by the CV chief executive Tony Dodemaide and the chairman Russell Thomas. Dodemaide said Lewis would be in serious trouble if he transgressed again.

"Cricket Victoria does not condone any action to gain an unfair advantage in any form, we're committed to playing fair cricket in the spirit of the game," Dodemaide said. "Myself and Cricket Victoria chairman Russell Thomas immediately spoke to Mick and he has apologised unreservedly and understands that this reflects unfairly on the Bushrangers and all of Victorian cricket.

"Mick pleaded guilty to Cricket Australia's code of behaviour breach and has also accepted a severe reprimand, imposed upon him as a Cricket Victoria employee, and assured us that actions such as this will not happen again. Mick also went personally to South Australian coach Jamie Siddons and apologised after the day's play.

"Victorian coach David Saker was extremely disappointed in Mick's actions and also that he cost the side five runs in what could be a very close match. We believe that Mick will learn a valuable lesson from this and understands this type of behaviour will not be tolerated."

Both sides have been penalised for ball tampering in recent years. In 2010, Aaron Finch was fined and the Bushrangers penalised for an instance of tampering against South Australia at Adelaide Oval. The umpires found markings on the ball at the end of the second day's play and initially reported the entire Victoria team before it was concluded that Finch had been responsible.

In 2014, the then Redbacks captain Johan Botha was suspended for one match after he pleaded guilty to "repeated inappropriate conduct relating to the condition of the match ball" during a drawn match with New South Wales, also in Adelaide.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Robert on March 31, 2016, 11:06 GMT

    I don't know how I feel about the 5 penalty runs. What would have happened if, say it was South Australia's bowling coach that performed the scraping on the ball but still with South Australia batting. Would 5 runs be taken OFF the score? How could the umpires determine if the culprit was affiliated with the batting or bowling team?

  • David on March 30, 2016, 10:06 GMT

    The thing I cant figure out is why you would let the coach field the ball anyhow. Unless it goes for 6 into the crowd, the fielding players should get it. The umpires should be telling people hanging around near the boundary to eff off.

  • James on March 30, 2016, 7:23 GMT

    Ball tampering is an evil. Yet changing the pitch conditions to suit your home team, which has a far, far greater impact on game outcomes is fine. How does that work?

  • kieran on March 30, 2016, 3:42 GMT

    @TanglesforPM, shining the ball falls under maintaining the condition of the ball, and is well within the laws.

  • kieran on March 30, 2016, 3:40 GMT

    If Mick were better at ball tampering maybe he wouldn't have got pasted for 110 runs by Gibbs & co. all those years back? On a serious note, the penalty is clearly insufficient given the continued breaches, and not just in the shield, SA have been pinged a couple of times in the last few years too.

    Perhaps this speaks to the broader issue of pitches offering less to the bowlers, and the benign nature of the Kookaburra ball. It's become a serious issue in my opinion, one that CA needs to address; I'd love to see CA open up to the possibility of a different manufacturer. It was interesting to see delegates from Duke over in New Zealand during the NZ-Aus tour, perfect conditions over there one would think to move to the Duke ball. The current Duke ball doesn't work here (from what I've heard), but surely it wouldn't be too difficult for Kookaburra to introduce a prouder seam, at the least?

  • sughosh on March 30, 2016, 0:10 GMT

    3rd incident in 5 years!! Clearly the existing penalty and fines are not working. Ball tampering is blatant cheating and CA should increase the punishment ASAP.

  • John on March 29, 2016, 11:20 GMT

    Ball tampering must be considered a serious offence, and the punishment for a repeat offender must be at least a five year ban and a heavy fine. Those who cheat while playing the game must not be given the privilege of playing the game. There is a need for revision of rules. This Australian coach is going to do it again, because he knows that if he is caught again, all that he has to do is to pay a fine which is a small fraction of his salary.

  •   Jono Makim on March 29, 2016, 9:06 GMT

    How little integrity can someone have to pull a stunt like that?

  • Gavin on March 29, 2016, 7:52 GMT

    How does he still have a job? As a member of coaching staff, wholly unacceptable behaviour from someone who is meant to be 'mentoring' young players.

  • corey on March 29, 2016, 4:27 GMT

    it would be funny if they lost by a few runs

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