Ball-tampering in cricket July 24, 2009

ICC should let bowlers 'prepare' the ball - Donald

52

Allan Donald, the former South African fast bowler, has said bowlers must be allowed to "prepare" the ball - ball-tampering, in other words - to redress the balance between bat and ball and protect the "dying breed" from increasingly lifeless pitches.

Speaking to Cricinfo on Friday, Donald was asked if he would recommend legalising ball tampering. He said: "The ICC would shoot me for saying it but, with the wickets that we play on and the dying breed fast bowlers are becoming on these flatter wickets, I would say we do need some sort of defence mechanism, something to fall back on to say 'Right, we can do this. We can now prepare this ball to go'."

Donald, currently the Warwickshire coach, knows, though, that his plea is likely to fall on deaf ears. "That [legalising ball-tampering] quite simply would never happen," he said.

Ball tampering was a raging issue in the 1990s, a period that coincided with Donald's rise as leader of the South African bowling attack. He agreed that bowlers had altered the condition of the ball in various ways to get prodigious reverse swing. "There is no doubt guys tampered with the ball," he said of the fast bowlers of his time. He recalled one incident in the mid-1990s when he saw a former fast bowler pick a little chunk of leather live on the television during a Test match against England. "The guy was just chipping away with his nails and I couldn't believe how he could get away with it," Donald said. "The commentator, a famous former player, said "Steady on", but he [bowler] denied it later. Let's not kid ourselves, there is no question it still goes on."

To get reverse swing, one must rough one side of the ball while polishing the other. "One [popular] way to do it is to get the ball into the dirt," Donald said, a method easily practised on rough subcontinent surfaces where the ball, especially the white one, soon gets scuffed up. "Even the red ball, in places like India, we found, did not take too long to reverse."

England also used reverse swing to win back the Ashes at home in 2005. "Yes, I remember [Andrew] Flintoff and [Simon] Jones do it beautifully to swing it both ways especially in Old Trafford by chucking the ball into the foothold."

Donald isn't the first fast bowler to make this case; in the mid-1990s, Sir Richard Hadlee had also asked for ball-tampering to be legalised. "As long as the bowlers or fielders use whatever means they have on their persons, I don't see anything wrong with it. I'm talking about the use of a finger nail to scratch the ball, not bottle tops or those sorts of things," Hadlee wrote in a newspaper column at the time.

Donald agreed the best method, if the ICC relented, was to rip the ball without artificial help. "I wouldn't bite it," he said with a chuckle. "One way is if the ball gets scuffed on one side,and there is a tiny little chunk that is missing, you pick it up and just keep that side dry and keep working on it, while shining the other side very heavily without putting any moisture. The whole team needs to keep track of this and should know the ball is reversing and they need to shine one side. The bowler, because he is bowling, should keep his wet hands on this side while keeping the other side dry. That's all you need."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hoggy_1989 on July 28, 2009, 9:24 GMT

    I think the solution is very simple...go back to uncovered pitches. It won't be so much of a use in Australia (because it doesn't rain very much during our summer months...might rain in Brisbane but not very often), but in England or the West Indies it would definitely even up the contest between batsman and bowler. Just after it has rained, the batsman gets it pretty easy because the pitch doesnt offer much bounce, so play on the front foot almost all the time. When it starts to dry out a little bit, thats when the favour swings back to the bowling team. And the batsman these days are padded up to the nines anyway...so they probably wouldnt get injured anymore than they do now.

    Either that, or just tell the groundsman to make pitches that assist bowlers a bit more....and if they don't, they don't come back to that ground the next tour. Simple!

  • Jdevanesan on July 28, 2009, 8:05 GMT

    Allan Donald is making a mockery of Bowlers skill here. I would have been happy if he had garnered support in calling for Sporty wickets and Time Between matches(Which will help the Bowlers have enough rest).

  • gzawilliam on July 28, 2009, 6:47 GMT

    Why don't we just get currators to prepare GOOD pitches.. Not good batting pitches.. Or good bowling pitches. I mean GOOD pitches. Where bat and ball are evenly matched and the spinners have something aswell.

    This is the inherrant problem with Twenty 20 cricket. Soon we will become so bored of high scoring matches and will start craving those tough mornings on a green track where the ball is swinging and seaming all over and only the best players make runs. That is cricket.

    Not making a aeroplane runway pitch where the batting team is 0-199 at lunch/tea.

    Administrators of cricket are just plain brainless. Ohh we need night tests. Ohh we need to improve over rates because crowds are low and money isn't flowing as much.

    WELL if you make a good wicket to play on then people will come and watch. I know that i would rather go to an even contest for 4 days than a batting fest that lasts for 5 days and goes no-where. People want entertainment. Quality not quantity

  • ERROR_CODE00 on July 27, 2009, 15:54 GMT

    in short.... let the talent & skills be praised RATHER than praising cheating.

  • ERROR_CODE00 on July 27, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    everything needs a talent... if a person can't do swing or reverse swing, he won't be able but with hardwork & practice.... it is like to allow to write from the textbooks when attempting a paper in exams, then how can the talent be judged =)... a team dominates the cricket because EITHER they have got talent OR they work/practice hard(& rarely with a GOOD luck).... why don't coach your team and do them some serious practice then relying on CHEATING.... another solution'd be, to go and SEARCH for the talented players within the country, believe me they'll find alot.... in the LAST, with no offense, when the subcontinent players show some talent, they call it CHEATING(like the the Two W's used to do reverse swingers with their own talent)... & when some English(or English-like) team does it, they call it SKILL/ART(like the English won the Ashes-2005 with the help of Flintoff & co. with the same art)...

  • Sorcerer on July 26, 2009, 15:39 GMT

    Well, here what he is saying makes sense but indeed much of what Donald generally says lacks much substance. He once famously called his dismissal of Atherton as the best ball he has ever bowled even though the essence of the dismissal was that Athers missed a swinging half-volley and that was about it!

  • mohitbpgc on July 26, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    I think the ICC should actually legalise ball scuffing ... and remove the ball change rule after 35 overs becoz then the bowlers will have a say in the game.... but the fact that reverse swing is a surprise element of the game ... this is what does the trick and gets the batsmen out.... if it were to become a routine then the batsmen could end up playing it and practicing it as any other conventional inswing... this is a tricky turf and the ICC must look into the matter for the sake of Fast bowling's good ...

  • mutalib on July 26, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    I agree with Donald, there should be balance between Ball & Bat , i think this is the only way of getting it in a batsman dominated game.or the ICC should change the game by having only one innings per side in a test match.

  • muno on July 26, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    Agree with Allan Donald 100%.

  • Shafaet on July 26, 2009, 4:34 GMT

    ICC will never allow this. Rather they will put a put a bowling machine,set it up to bowl only full-tosses so that batsmen can hit more and more sixes. That's pathetic. Come on,batsmen are only a part of the game,keep something for the bowlers to or the game will sink into oblivion. Well said ALAN.

  • Hoggy_1989 on July 28, 2009, 9:24 GMT

    I think the solution is very simple...go back to uncovered pitches. It won't be so much of a use in Australia (because it doesn't rain very much during our summer months...might rain in Brisbane but not very often), but in England or the West Indies it would definitely even up the contest between batsman and bowler. Just after it has rained, the batsman gets it pretty easy because the pitch doesnt offer much bounce, so play on the front foot almost all the time. When it starts to dry out a little bit, thats when the favour swings back to the bowling team. And the batsman these days are padded up to the nines anyway...so they probably wouldnt get injured anymore than they do now.

    Either that, or just tell the groundsman to make pitches that assist bowlers a bit more....and if they don't, they don't come back to that ground the next tour. Simple!

  • Jdevanesan on July 28, 2009, 8:05 GMT

    Allan Donald is making a mockery of Bowlers skill here. I would have been happy if he had garnered support in calling for Sporty wickets and Time Between matches(Which will help the Bowlers have enough rest).

  • gzawilliam on July 28, 2009, 6:47 GMT

    Why don't we just get currators to prepare GOOD pitches.. Not good batting pitches.. Or good bowling pitches. I mean GOOD pitches. Where bat and ball are evenly matched and the spinners have something aswell.

    This is the inherrant problem with Twenty 20 cricket. Soon we will become so bored of high scoring matches and will start craving those tough mornings on a green track where the ball is swinging and seaming all over and only the best players make runs. That is cricket.

    Not making a aeroplane runway pitch where the batting team is 0-199 at lunch/tea.

    Administrators of cricket are just plain brainless. Ohh we need night tests. Ohh we need to improve over rates because crowds are low and money isn't flowing as much.

    WELL if you make a good wicket to play on then people will come and watch. I know that i would rather go to an even contest for 4 days than a batting fest that lasts for 5 days and goes no-where. People want entertainment. Quality not quantity

  • ERROR_CODE00 on July 27, 2009, 15:54 GMT

    in short.... let the talent & skills be praised RATHER than praising cheating.

  • ERROR_CODE00 on July 27, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    everything needs a talent... if a person can't do swing or reverse swing, he won't be able but with hardwork & practice.... it is like to allow to write from the textbooks when attempting a paper in exams, then how can the talent be judged =)... a team dominates the cricket because EITHER they have got talent OR they work/practice hard(& rarely with a GOOD luck).... why don't coach your team and do them some serious practice then relying on CHEATING.... another solution'd be, to go and SEARCH for the talented players within the country, believe me they'll find alot.... in the LAST, with no offense, when the subcontinent players show some talent, they call it CHEATING(like the the Two W's used to do reverse swingers with their own talent)... & when some English(or English-like) team does it, they call it SKILL/ART(like the English won the Ashes-2005 with the help of Flintoff & co. with the same art)...

  • Sorcerer on July 26, 2009, 15:39 GMT

    Well, here what he is saying makes sense but indeed much of what Donald generally says lacks much substance. He once famously called his dismissal of Atherton as the best ball he has ever bowled even though the essence of the dismissal was that Athers missed a swinging half-volley and that was about it!

  • mohitbpgc on July 26, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    I think the ICC should actually legalise ball scuffing ... and remove the ball change rule after 35 overs becoz then the bowlers will have a say in the game.... but the fact that reverse swing is a surprise element of the game ... this is what does the trick and gets the batsmen out.... if it were to become a routine then the batsmen could end up playing it and practicing it as any other conventional inswing... this is a tricky turf and the ICC must look into the matter for the sake of Fast bowling's good ...

  • mutalib on July 26, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    I agree with Donald, there should be balance between Ball & Bat , i think this is the only way of getting it in a batsman dominated game.or the ICC should change the game by having only one innings per side in a test match.

  • muno on July 26, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    Agree with Allan Donald 100%.

  • Shafaet on July 26, 2009, 4:34 GMT

    ICC will never allow this. Rather they will put a put a bowling machine,set it up to bowl only full-tosses so that batsmen can hit more and more sixes. That's pathetic. Come on,batsmen are only a part of the game,keep something for the bowlers to or the game will sink into oblivion. Well said ALAN.

  • Fishmatics on July 26, 2009, 4:01 GMT

    As a fellow South African I'm truly embarrassed by the great AD's comments. A great fast bowler yes, but no genius. England have just won the Lords test without any ball tampering - 20 wickets taken in 5 days - need I say more. AD please stick to coaching and leave the comedy to the comedians.

  • Clyde on July 26, 2009, 2:48 GMT

    Some Test bowlers can't even bowl straight. They need to look at Davidson and Trueman. Then they need conventional swing, which is later and sharper than reverse. Reverse does not bother a batsman who is fully awake, who is not tired. To get conventional swing, you need a grassy pitch, which creates the necessary humidity for a metre or so above it. You notice how grass works when you see the ball swing after it passes the wicket.

  • onejubb on July 25, 2009, 23:07 GMT

    the game was fine.....no need to pull in boundaries so that little taps an go for six....and providing wickets with help for the bowlers will do just swell.....no need to rip one side off the ball.....

  • Babbi on July 25, 2009, 20:58 GMT

    If ball tampering is such a common practice as put forward by Mr Donald, why cannot the ICC itself directly hire experts to "prepare" such balls and introduce them into a test match 75 overs after the new ball. This would give the fielding side 15 overs to try and do their trick! Case closed.

  • CricketLover73 on July 25, 2009, 19:54 GMT

    It's silly to expect former cricketers to make logical statements about laws of the game. The geeks invent sports, the jocks play it. Legalizing cheating is as silly as it gets. I read a number of posts that claim everything favors the batsmen, from equipment to ground conditions. That is true but the counter cannot be to legalize ball-tampering. Here's the geek solution and I know the jocks will take a couple of decades before they catch on - "change the nature of the ball". Let's make cricket balls that are treated a little differently on one side. In such a manner that one side's condition deteriorates faster than the other. The ball doesn't change, it's weight doesn't change, it's color doesn't change but it still gives the fast bowlers an advantage, and legally. Another alternative would be to allow the option, to the bowling team, to change the ball more frequently. Maybe every 25 overs.

  • pakmacman on July 25, 2009, 17:57 GMT

    I can't stand to watch any match, T20, ODI, or Test that is played on a flat lifeless pitch. Instead of worrying about the ball, why not force every test playing nation to produce wickets geared at making an interesting match of cricket.

  • the_silent_observer on July 25, 2009, 16:58 GMT

    Very Good Mr. Donald !! Now may we have Mr. Graeme Pollock (or Garfield Sobers) demand a broader bat (not the one that Mr. Dennis Lillee experimented) to be used by the batsmen in spinning tracks ? or, for that matter, Mr. Rodney Marsh requesting 5 feet broad pads, while keeping wickets in Lords ?

    In my humble opinion, three things that retired cricketers should not do: writing autobiographies, offering revolutionary ideas to improve the game and preferably, commentating on the television for pyjama cricket like the IPLs.

    cheers

  • deccan_chargers_2009 on July 25, 2009, 16:31 GMT

    A bowler need to have GUTS to make the batsman play a wrong shot or commit an error rather use negative tactics like 'BALL TAMPERING'. If a bowler he is not capable of bowling or cannot bowl on different kinds of turfs then he should get out of cricket instead of making the BALL go out of CRICKETING RULES... It should always be a gentleman's game instead of breaking the chunks of a ball. The cricketing world is yet to give birth to the bowling legends like Kapil Dev, Wasim Akram, Micheal Holding, Joel Garner, Lawson, Sir Hadlee who not only set an example to themselves but to the entire cricket world that even without TAMPERING with the ball...the wickets will fall !!

  • Sorcerer on July 25, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    Well, something must be done indeed as the pitches are really flatbeds as compared to seaming tracks and lively tracks in operation in many countries in 80s. bouncer rule , the lbw rule etc...so much has been legislated towards the batsmen. Even the plethora of cricket being played now favors the batsmen. a certain extent needs to be permitted - when I saw the picture of Manoj Prabhakar having his teeth right into the seam walking up to his bowling mark in 80s, it was shocking but indeed ball tampering has bene going on..even Lever used vaseline to get so much swing. English accused Pakistan of tampering and then gower accused Indians of tampering the ball, although when they themselves were up to it in the Ashes some years ago, it was merely an art! Anyhow, who would love to be a fast bowler in this day and age if you continue stacking the rulebook in favor of the batsman?

  • Peligrosisimo3 on July 25, 2009, 15:39 GMT

    I quite frankly and honestly don't understand the need for this "legalize ball tampering" debate right now. I mean isn't what's already allowed enough. Didn't the ICC already alter a rule it had for the amount of straightening for a spin bowler or something to that effect. Basically legalizing illegal bowling. Where will it stop? Can you imagine cricketers biting one side of the ball to scuff it up.It was said above that during one Ashes tour that the ball was chucked into the foothold by Flintoff and co. If these footholds were the footholds left by other bowlers and he did this during his dilevery to batsmen then that is legal but if it was on other areas of the playing area then this is definitely not acceptable.The game would be further delayed.as cricketers would try all sorts of things to get their desired effect.Lots of interesting comments are made by other folks about improving the balance between bat and ball. Remember a test match was abandonned because of BT allegations

  • kitten on July 25, 2009, 15:11 GMT

    Smurai99 has raised quite a few valid points. I would also add a few suggestions to those. Why not reduce the 5 day test to four. One of the main reasons for preparing flat pitches is so that they last five days, and more money is generated. It is a shame this is so, because the batsmen tend to make hay and the bowlers are ground into the dust! Also each team should only be allowed 90 overs(1 day) at the most for each innings. That way there will always be a result. And 90 overs is a fair bit of time for each innings. I know Test cricket some will say, is Test cricket, and should be preserved at all costs. But let's face it...it is losing it's shine. See how well attended the 50/T20 are, as opposed to the Tests(exception the Ashes and ofcourse tests in the sub continent) The Test matches between the WI and England were a complete disaster. I sincerely hope something is done soon, and we still enjoy Tests, as there is no doubt this is the pinnacle of cricket.

  • Warnie_rocks on July 25, 2009, 14:53 GMT

    I do not agree totally with Allan Donald. Especially with the reasons that he has mentioned. I agree that a lot of changes have been made which favour the batsmen. But there are many other ways of leveling the field rather than allowing ball tampering. Preparing more sporting pitches and making them mandatory or encouraging them is something that the ICC should seriously look into.

  • Copernicus on July 25, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    Donald is right about the game being overly batman-friendly, however I don't think ball tampering is the solution. Firstly, try moving the ropes back so the ball actually has to go more than halfway to count as a boundary. Maybe rein in the absurdly heavy bats that are being produced. And definitely prepare pitches that aren't just tarmac lifted from the carpark!

  • defense on July 25, 2009, 14:13 GMT

    i think this a very interesting comment indeed...sort of like dutch legalized prostitution so that authorities can monitor a necessary evil better.ball tampering is there in cricket and will always exist so why not have some acceptable do's and dont's.i find the debate worth having. to all who say that bowlers of yore (incl the Ws from Pak) did not use ball tampering at all to swing, wake up and smell the coffee, mates. to all who say the pitch is known, the ball is known before match starts.well if both sides score 500-600 runs it is not very interesting at all.why limit the bowlers from bowling bouncers then or allow batsmen to wear helmets... i do believe the game has tilted in favor of the batsmen, much to the detriment of the game itself. bowlers should be allowed to bowl bouncers as and when they think fit -- and the debate regarding ball "doctoring" is worth having because it will make the game all the more lively and interesting and make the art of reverse swing widespread.

  • CricFan24 on July 25, 2009, 13:46 GMT

    Am not so sure about the exact means ,but the general theme? i couldnt AGREE more!! Look at batting in the 2000s compared to the 90s. You had some 3/4 batsmen avg. 50+ in the 90s (the real true greats). Now?- every tom,dick and hussey avg.50+. must be over a dozen batsmen!!As Boycott would say "Even me Mom would avg 50+ now!"

  • SachIsTheBattingGod on July 25, 2009, 13:41 GMT

    Let's not forget the point he is trying to make here. Level the playing field for bowlers and batsmen. I am not for the ball tampering method but i am for livelier pitches. i'd rather watch golf instead of today's T20. Some grass, movement and bounce would be good for the game. hitting through the line would not be quite as easy then and would bring the fast bowler back in the game. of course let's also get rid of the 15 degree rule, i say.

  • stewy on July 25, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    Well isn't simply rubbing the ball on the pants 'ball tampering'? Anything else that can be done naturally, as Hadlee said, seems alright to me.

  • shaaakspsyco on July 25, 2009, 13:03 GMT

    Absolutely correct! All arguments dealt with.

  • Springsam on July 25, 2009, 12:44 GMT

    iIt is amusing to note the reasons cited by Donald for ball tampering - that the pitches are prepared flat and that the fast bowlers are an endangered species.

    A ball has been agreed upon before the start of a series; the pitch likewise is also accepted. Any changes in the ball or pitch should be due to the natural forces that go with the dynamics of the game -i.e. natural wear and tear of the pitch and the ball. 'Shining the ball on one side' is more towards restoring the profile of the ball to its original than altering it to a different surface contour or shape; likewise removal of dirt or mud between the seems or wiping with towels when gets soggy are all attempts towards restoring the ball to its original profile

    Permission to disfigure the ball artificially would open up the Pandora's Box allowing ingenious bowlers to go any length to change the profile of the original sphere - half the sphere ripped into bristles and the other half smoothened with 'Vaseline'

  • Tom_Bowler on July 25, 2009, 12:31 GMT

    Laws have changed; pitches are covered, bouncers are limited, fields are restricted. The environment has changed; boundaries are shorter, pitches are prepared not to break up. Equipment has changed; helmets and padding are greatly improved and bats are unpressed. All of these things have tilted the game ever more firmly in the batsman's favour. Why shouldn't the bowlers get something back?

  • baghera78 on July 25, 2009, 12:24 GMT

    Test cricket is not dying, it's been overshadowed by T20 and one day matches. Those who talk of legalizing ball tempering so that game could evolve should know that it's evolve just like that. In early stage when there was a little to no rules, batters used to take liberty of playing with variable bat sizes. Some have even used aluminum bats. And bowler user to do all sort of things withs ball that they could imagine. Allan's comment is like pushing cricket 150 years back. I guess not one would like that.

  • jackiethepen on July 25, 2009, 12:18 GMT

    Seems a cockeyed way of going about it. Why legalise cheating? Why not get the ICC to impose fines for impossibly flat pitches? There are safeguards against pitches not up to standard. We have to create a mindset where extremely flat pitches are judged as not up to standard. All in all the spirit of the game would be going into reverse with ball tampering. We need to look at all kinds of cheating, preparing a pitch for a draw to benefit the home side is not in the spirit of cricket.

  • Smurai99 on July 25, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    I completely agree that the balance between bat & ball should be addressed. However, legalising ball tampering is not the answer. The pitches are only going to get flatter so why not make better balls. I think cricket balls should be made with bigger seams to aid conventional swing & spin. Allow the fielding team to take the new ball after 50 overs. We should have more consistent balls so that one doesn't need to wonder why ball A swings and ball B doesn't. This can be achieved by mechanised manufacturing rather than hand made balls. What ever the answer, we need more result oriented & interestng test matches. This can only be achieved if there is a proper contest between bat & ball. As far as I see, the one day game is a batsmans game. Test matches should be a bowlers game. Then those centuries would actualy mean something.

  • umerlakhani on July 25, 2009, 11:41 GMT

    The two W's swung the ball miles and at great pace, they swung it without ever changing the seam position and when it was "supposed" to swing out it swung back in. thats talent and has nothing to do with ball tampering. Though Donald makes a point and the fast bowler is a dying breed anyways, tampering of the ball is neither sport nor skill. Grimmet practised a particular delivery for twelve years in the nets before bowling it in a test match, things have changed since then and so have techniques and no one has to practise for twelve years before trying something in a match. Professional sportsmen need to develop new ways to keep their game on top and breaking chunks of a ball is not one of them. If only we could ask the country hosting matches to be a bit braver and not worry about losing and prepare sporting wickets to make it a real match, but that is another comment for another day. Long Live the two W's......

  • wanderer1 on July 25, 2009, 10:35 GMT

    I agree with Donald, legalise Ball Tampering, get off your high horses you toffs.

  • Green_and_Gold on July 25, 2009, 9:37 GMT

    I enjoy watching cricket and enjoy the battles between batter and bowler. There are many tools either player can use and these depend on many factors such as weather and pitch conditions. Bowlers have many options when delivering the ball - pace, seam position, wrist position, line, length etc... There is enough there with the game as it is to make it worth playing and watching with out having to alter to many things. Yes some conditions favour certian bowlers and thats what makes it exciting - is it a seamers wicket or a spinners? Also if you look at a game you may get one bowler taking 5 wickets and the others with 0 or 1 - why is this - they are playing on the same wicket. Lets see the pacemen (and woman) put more emphasis on their skills than with trying tyo change the balls they use.

  • sabster on July 25, 2009, 9:33 GMT

    Agree with Allan Donald 100%. We want to see the game evolve for the better. As much as it is nice to see batsmen smashing 4's and 6's .... it is wonderful to watch a new Wasim Akram teasing batsmen with fantastic bowling.

  • Radomir on July 25, 2009, 9:21 GMT

    I like the ideas set down by vmpai and rnarayan, and I agree with Donald. When we play in summer in South Africa, Australia and India the conditions are often perfect for the batsmen and now the last safe havens for fast bowlers are disappearing, the WACA for instance. Either let bowlers scuff the ball up or let them sledge. One or the other otherwise batsmen will be forever comfortable at the crease. Now with the bouncer law, shorter boundaries, better bats and flat pitches we need to restore balance in cricket.

  • reeksrok on July 25, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    I see no reason in allowing what donald is saying. As it is the test match cricket is doing well. The bowlers if u have noticed, in srilanka, have flourished well. So all it takes to make test cricket interesting to prepare even wickets like the ones in srilanka or lord's or even cardiff.

  • vmpai on July 25, 2009, 8:02 GMT

    There is a better way than ball fiddling to make the game of cricket to favour the bowler, especially in Test cricket.

    What i would suggest is ICC imposes the following: 1. Let there be Two balls used in the game : One at each end. 2. The balls can be of any manufacture at either end. 3. New ball is available at the end of 80 overs i.e. After 40 overs being bowled from one end. 4. The fielding team has the option of taking the new ball at any end at their choice : i.e. the fielding team may take the new ball at one end and continue with the old ball at the other end.

    Considering all types of ball show some effect upto 20 overs this method should ensure bowlers see better days in the field.

    This could also mean that Test matches will become more result oriiented and ICC dream of having four day Test matches may also be achieved by default.

    As far as One dayers ( 50 / 50 ) and Half Dayers ( 20 / 20 ) are concerned, i believe that already a lot of dressing has been done.

  • Kirstenfan on July 25, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    Wildamigo, before making general statements check your facts, south africa has a better home record than india or england.

  • rnarayan on July 25, 2009, 6:24 GMT

    Actually, batsman do prepare the bats themselves. The bats used by major players are not "off the shelf" but are specifically made of varying weights and balance (within the parameters of width, etc laid down) to suit their style of play, and are changed during the course of an innings depending on the circumstances. Wouldn't it be reasonable for the bowling side to select a trype of ball that suits their attack? For example, a side strong in spin could pick a type of ball that scuffs (naturally) easier, or one with a prominent seam. That would be fair.

  • mumbaiguy79 on July 25, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    Dear Bloodline, RomanNoseJob, SHARK810,

    I am glad that my comment evoked such mixed responses. I have a simple explanation as to why I don't like Donald's idea: No doubt the bowler today is hammered around the park by the batsman. Dead pitches, the awesome bats available nowadays, shorter boundaries and so on. He still has 60 deliveries (ODI) or many more(Tests) to comeback and take wickets. What about the batsman? One mistake from him or a vicious inswinging yorker and he's gone! Gone for the day. So if we heed to Donald's suggestion and allow "preparing" the ball you will regularly see a ODI where not more than 200 runs are scored and a test match getting over in 3 days. Where's the fun? Oh wait, we will then have an ex-great batsman proposing changes that favor the batsman. Now where will it end? :)

  • WildAmigo on July 25, 2009, 4:29 GMT

    As you all know only three test playing countries Australia, England and India are using their own manufacturing balls in Tests so it is obvious they have better home records than any other of the Test playing nations. In my opinion The best thing they can do is let available all the brands of balls available so the teams have options to utilize this according to the situation of the game and pitches..

  • eZoha on July 25, 2009, 3:20 GMT

    I completely agree with Donald. Cricket has gone through so many changes in the last couple of decades, but all of them are in favor of the batsmen only. Bowlers, fast bowlers to be precise, are dying indeed. I personally enjoy the contest when the ball is reversing. If that requires allowing a bit of non-artificial ball tampering, I am okay with that. I hope fast bowlers of all countries learn this art.

  • vannoj on July 25, 2009, 2:42 GMT

    Ball tampering? This has been going on legally for years. Take for example as Donald explained, once you continously shine one side of the ball you are in effect tampering with the ball. Your clothing used for the shining is a part of you and I guess your fingernails are too. If the clothes is used legally to "tamper" what about the finger? Another way players tamper with the ball is to return it to the keeper at one bounce. Players have used this to soften the ball early so that spinners can be introduced. There is very little batsmen can do about those situations mentioned above for there is nothing illegal about them.

  • SHARK810 on July 25, 2009, 1:58 GMT

    Deb_Teb is a clown, there is a difference between taking something and altering its state (in this case a cricket ball) and manufacturing a bat. There are laws on reasonable dimensions for both bat and ball and Donald is not suggesting altering these. I found Donalds' ideas interesting and although there may be better directions to take, something must be done to level the playing field between bat and ball.

  • RomanNoseJob on July 25, 2009, 0:41 GMT

    Maybe Deb_Teb could have said, "lets have the batsman "prepare" the wicket for himself, like hammering down cracks and uneveness. where would it this end?" oh wait.... they already do that. Saying it's the same as preparing a bat three times as wide isn't the same, that would be the equivalent of a manufacturer making balls that did completely weird things (perhaps a ball with one side perferated so it swing insanely from the first over) No, I agree fully, he's not talking about bringing objects on, he's talking about sorting the seam out with his finger nails. it's hardly any different to polishing it anyway, just an extension. There are two physical pieces of the game that change as the match goes on, the wicket and the ball. Batsmen are allowed rollers, as well as "gardening" throughout the match, why not let bowlers do what they want to the ball?

  • Bloodline on July 24, 2009, 23:26 GMT

    Dear Deb_Teb, Allan Donald is not saying that bowlers should reduce the size of the ball as u r asking for widening the bats, YES batsmen have the choice ofchoosing their bats and bats of different batsmen differ a lot from the older era.

    Allan Donald is right in raising voice as the need of test cricket is to have a balance between bat and ball, today's cricket is all about batsmen thats why fast bowlers are wiping out of this world.

  • dmudge on July 24, 2009, 21:10 GMT

    Its a good point though that the balance is swinging far too much in favour of the batsmen. Administrators seem to think that all anyone wants to see is sixes being hit. Personally seeing a tear-away fast bowler causing havoc is about the best there is.

  • hyperbole on July 24, 2009, 19:18 GMT

    Allan Donald endorsing ball tampering, whatever next? Because he's worked for the England cricket team, he's obviously been bitten by the English bug of sorting out problems from the top down, rather than bottom up. Prepare more bowler friendly wickets, return to uncovered pitches and reduce 20-20 cricket, which as Andrew Symonds said is not good for egos and is certainly not for fast bowlers. I remember the incident clearly, he's referring to; Aqib Javed picked up by Richie Benaud in 1992. That series was completely dominated by Pakistan ball tampering, though it should have been dominated by acknowledging the absolutely brilliant bowling of Wasim & Waqar. Making ball tampering legal is a bit like making chewing gum illegal; impossible, it's goes on and there's nothing to stop it. Still, it would be a delightful irony; making chewing gum illegal and ball tampering legal, though that would still leave vaseline - ask John Lever

  • mumbaiguy79 on July 24, 2009, 18:54 GMT

    OK. So lets have the batsman "prepare" a bat for himself as well. How about a bat wide enough to cover his legs (no lbw) and stumps?

    Where would this end Mr Donald?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • mumbaiguy79 on July 24, 2009, 18:54 GMT

    OK. So lets have the batsman "prepare" a bat for himself as well. How about a bat wide enough to cover his legs (no lbw) and stumps?

    Where would this end Mr Donald?

  • hyperbole on July 24, 2009, 19:18 GMT

    Allan Donald endorsing ball tampering, whatever next? Because he's worked for the England cricket team, he's obviously been bitten by the English bug of sorting out problems from the top down, rather than bottom up. Prepare more bowler friendly wickets, return to uncovered pitches and reduce 20-20 cricket, which as Andrew Symonds said is not good for egos and is certainly not for fast bowlers. I remember the incident clearly, he's referring to; Aqib Javed picked up by Richie Benaud in 1992. That series was completely dominated by Pakistan ball tampering, though it should have been dominated by acknowledging the absolutely brilliant bowling of Wasim & Waqar. Making ball tampering legal is a bit like making chewing gum illegal; impossible, it's goes on and there's nothing to stop it. Still, it would be a delightful irony; making chewing gum illegal and ball tampering legal, though that would still leave vaseline - ask John Lever

  • dmudge on July 24, 2009, 21:10 GMT

    Its a good point though that the balance is swinging far too much in favour of the batsmen. Administrators seem to think that all anyone wants to see is sixes being hit. Personally seeing a tear-away fast bowler causing havoc is about the best there is.

  • Bloodline on July 24, 2009, 23:26 GMT

    Dear Deb_Teb, Allan Donald is not saying that bowlers should reduce the size of the ball as u r asking for widening the bats, YES batsmen have the choice ofchoosing their bats and bats of different batsmen differ a lot from the older era.

    Allan Donald is right in raising voice as the need of test cricket is to have a balance between bat and ball, today's cricket is all about batsmen thats why fast bowlers are wiping out of this world.

  • RomanNoseJob on July 25, 2009, 0:41 GMT

    Maybe Deb_Teb could have said, "lets have the batsman "prepare" the wicket for himself, like hammering down cracks and uneveness. where would it this end?" oh wait.... they already do that. Saying it's the same as preparing a bat three times as wide isn't the same, that would be the equivalent of a manufacturer making balls that did completely weird things (perhaps a ball with one side perferated so it swing insanely from the first over) No, I agree fully, he's not talking about bringing objects on, he's talking about sorting the seam out with his finger nails. it's hardly any different to polishing it anyway, just an extension. There are two physical pieces of the game that change as the match goes on, the wicket and the ball. Batsmen are allowed rollers, as well as "gardening" throughout the match, why not let bowlers do what they want to the ball?

  • SHARK810 on July 25, 2009, 1:58 GMT

    Deb_Teb is a clown, there is a difference between taking something and altering its state (in this case a cricket ball) and manufacturing a bat. There are laws on reasonable dimensions for both bat and ball and Donald is not suggesting altering these. I found Donalds' ideas interesting and although there may be better directions to take, something must be done to level the playing field between bat and ball.

  • vannoj on July 25, 2009, 2:42 GMT

    Ball tampering? This has been going on legally for years. Take for example as Donald explained, once you continously shine one side of the ball you are in effect tampering with the ball. Your clothing used for the shining is a part of you and I guess your fingernails are too. If the clothes is used legally to "tamper" what about the finger? Another way players tamper with the ball is to return it to the keeper at one bounce. Players have used this to soften the ball early so that spinners can be introduced. There is very little batsmen can do about those situations mentioned above for there is nothing illegal about them.

  • eZoha on July 25, 2009, 3:20 GMT

    I completely agree with Donald. Cricket has gone through so many changes in the last couple of decades, but all of them are in favor of the batsmen only. Bowlers, fast bowlers to be precise, are dying indeed. I personally enjoy the contest when the ball is reversing. If that requires allowing a bit of non-artificial ball tampering, I am okay with that. I hope fast bowlers of all countries learn this art.

  • WildAmigo on July 25, 2009, 4:29 GMT

    As you all know only three test playing countries Australia, England and India are using their own manufacturing balls in Tests so it is obvious they have better home records than any other of the Test playing nations. In my opinion The best thing they can do is let available all the brands of balls available so the teams have options to utilize this according to the situation of the game and pitches..

  • mumbaiguy79 on July 25, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    Dear Bloodline, RomanNoseJob, SHARK810,

    I am glad that my comment evoked such mixed responses. I have a simple explanation as to why I don't like Donald's idea: No doubt the bowler today is hammered around the park by the batsman. Dead pitches, the awesome bats available nowadays, shorter boundaries and so on. He still has 60 deliveries (ODI) or many more(Tests) to comeback and take wickets. What about the batsman? One mistake from him or a vicious inswinging yorker and he's gone! Gone for the day. So if we heed to Donald's suggestion and allow "preparing" the ball you will regularly see a ODI where not more than 200 runs are scored and a test match getting over in 3 days. Where's the fun? Oh wait, we will then have an ex-great batsman proposing changes that favor the batsman. Now where will it end? :)