Players are barred, by Law 42.3, from rubbing the ball on the ground, interfering with its seam or surface, or using any implement that can alter the condition of the ball to thereby gain unfair advantage. There have been plenty of ugly incidents centring on accusations of ball-tampering through cricket's history: the John Lever "Vaseline" affair in 1976-77; the times England and New Zealand accused Pakistan of it in the early 1990s; Michael Atherton's admission that he used dirt to treat the ball against South Africa in 1994; and perhaps most infamously, the Oval Test of 2006 when Pakistan forfeited the match because they were accused of having tampered with the ball.

May 10, 2020: Change the ball-tampering and lbw laws | Aug 7, 2018: Many factors made ball-tampering reach 'tipping point' - Ponting

Cricket rules

Cricket has never stopped evolving: from round-arm bowling becoming the standard, to the 15-degree rule for arm flexion while bowling. From the number of balls per over to the specifications of equipment - ranging from glove-webbing to bat handles - almost every aspect of the game is regulated. New rules are frequently put in place - especially in the shorter forms of the game, as in the case of Powerplays, free hits, and the tweaking of field restrictions.

Mar 30, 2020: What we learned from watching the 1992 World Cup final in full again | May 10, 2020: Change the ball-tampering and lbw laws


A 2003 European Union ruling on the right of a Slovakian handball player to play in Germany has had a massive impact on English county cricket. It created an opening for players from countries with trade agreements with the EU (in effect South Africa, Zimbabwe and some Caribbean countries) to bypass the limits on overseas players and sign for counties. A trickle became a flood, and by 2008 there were more than 60 Kolpak cricketers in England, causing debate and acrimony between counties with arguments that their presence weakened English cricket. Click here for a more in-depth explanation.

Apr 11, 2019: 'I want to make a big difference off the field because of all the stupid things I have done' | Dec 18, 2019: Life as a Kolpak


From WG Grace, with his penchant for delivering a running commentary on opposition players and umpires, to Steve Waugh's Australians and their tactic of "mental disintegration", sledging is almost as old as cricket itself. The Australians, from Dennis Lillee to Merv Hughes have been the acknowledged masters, but Asian exponents like Kumar Sangakkara are fast catching up

Mar 3, 2019: Turning up the stump mics isn't the way to deal with sledging | Apr 25, 2019: The ugly Australian: the evolution of a cricket species

Corruption in cricket

Cricket's biggest match-fixing scandal was unearthed in 2000, when Hansie Cronje admitted he had accepted money to throw matches. Soon players from other countries were implicated, among them Mohammad Azharuddin and Saleem Malik. Since then, allegations of fixing - including the new phenomenon of spot-fixing - have cropped up sporadically, and it has been acknowledged that bookmakers and the underworld have been active in trying to influence cricket results and specific moments in play. In 2010, scandal reared its head again when three leading Pakistan players were questioned by Scotland Yard and suspended by the ICC over spot-fixing charges.

Oct 23, 2018: The story of a corrupt approach at the 2011 World Cup | Oct 27, 2018: PCB turns its back on Qayyum report with Wasim Akram appointment

The Pakistan spot-fixing case

In September 2010 the ICC suspended three Pakistan players - Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt - on allegations of what was later defined as spot-fixing. They were alleged to have carried out specific on-field actions, including bowling no-balls at pre-determined times, during the Lord's Test against England on the instance of a bookie. The three were later handed long bans by the ICC before the matter moved to the British Crown courts, where all three were convicted and sentenced to spells of detention.

Oct 12, 2018: Mohammad Amir's no-ball | Jun 20, 2016: 'The dream is to come back and play for three to four years'

The Lahore attack

The attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009 was the first time cricketers had been directly targeted by terrorists. That attack, in which several cricketers and coaching staff were injured, shattered the illusion that sportsmen were outside the terrorists' agenda. As the cricket world tried to digest the the story of Sri Lanka's miraculous escape, Pakistan sunk further into the abyss of isolation

Oct 7, 2018: The Lahore attack | Jun 13, 2014: Teams cannot risk tours to Pakistan