CONTROVERSIES, CHEATING AND THE CRICKET WORLD
Cricket world, cricket, and the cricketers are always surrounded by controversies. Controversies and cricket go hand in hand. There have always been controversial happenings inside and outside the playing field however this modern-day cricket has come a long way in scrutinizing the causes with some new ICC rules and code of conduct.
Whenever there is a mega-event such as ICC World Cup or any other mega tournament there is always a great chance of controversies popping up due to the competitive nature of the game. This gentlemen game demands a fair play with big hearts and sportsmen spirit which sometimes is found lacking or players overtrying their part to get results for sides no matter what reason controversies are bound to occur.
Recently cricketing world have been largely dealing with controversies like MATCH FIXING, SPOT FIXING, and BALL TAMPERING.
BALL TAMPERING IN CRICKET:
There is a long past history of ball tampering in cricket and sadly such cases came out from some of the biggest names in the game. In good old days, there were no such rules which prevented the tampering with certain things and the coin, the bottle cap and the nails were common tools of players to tamper with the Ball. But with the advent of Reverse swing, everyone wanted to make the ball swing in the air and hence players figured ways to tamper with the ball to get the desired effect.
WHAT IS BALL TAMPERING?
Ball tampering is an unlawful act in the game of cricket in which alteration of the surface of the ball is done by the fielders or the bowler itself to interfere with the aerodynamics of the ball and to aid its movement in the air.
According to the cricket law, fielders and the bowlers are only allowed to shine the ball or to dry the ball with the towel if the ball is wet. If anyone wants to remove dirt from the ball it is done in the supervision of on-field umpires. If the surface of the ball is altered by the fingernail, rubbing on the ground, or by any other sharp object, it will be in the context of ball tampering.
PURPOSE BEHIND THE BALL TAMPERING:
The main and foremost purpose behind the ball tampering is to get the ball to swing or bring to obtain favorable bowling conditions. Normally, players apply saliva to shine the one surface of the ball which helps them to swing the ball with the shine which is legal however in case of ball tampering, players rub the surface of the ball by sharp objects like Nails, spikes, bottle caps, sandpapers which alter the surface of the ball and because of this act ball swings more in the air. Bowlers also get a reverse swing which is gold in the death overs and very difficult for the batsmen to deal with.
BUT WHAT IS REVERSE SWING?
This whole thing works on the principal of Air pressure, as on shiny surface air can flow smoothly whereas on the rough surfaces its flow is not smooth, In case of cricket ball the difference of ball surface condition on either side of the seam can make on side of the ball experience lesser air pressure and thus ball swings that way. Cricket Ball has to be shiny on one side and rough on the other to be able to swing in the air commonly referred to as REVERSE SWING. Which is indeed very difficult to play.
Players usually do tamper the ball whenever there are unfavorable conditions for bowling. Tampered ball swings much which helps bowler to do something better with the ball in such a difficult situation.
HISTORY OF BALL TAMPERING:
Cricket history is full of such incidents where a single individual or a few teammates were involved in ball tampering. Ball tampering causes serious damage to the integrity of this game. Ball tampering not only damaged the image of the game but also some fine careers of great players as they were banned for years or fined from their match fee. In the past, there are so many legendary cricketers who were also involved in such sorts of activities directly or indirectly. Waqar Younus was the first who receive a suspension and fined 50% of his match fees in 2000.
England’s captain Michael Atherton against South Africa in a test match in 1994 at lords was accused of ball tampering. Atherton caught by the cameras when he put his hand in his pocket and then rub something on the ball. Atherton denied that allegation of ball tampering and give a statement that he had dirt in his pocket which he used to dry his hands. This whole infamous episode is termed as “dirt in the pocket”.
Waqar Younis, a Pakistani legendary fast bowler known for his accuracy, pace and deadly Yorkers was also involved in Ball tampering activity in 2000 where he received a suspension and 50% of his match fees for his role in ball tampering. He was the first player to officially receive a suspension and was fined for ball tampering.
Even the Masters can at time flaunter and can be found wanting in this cruel game of cricket. Sachin Tendulkar who is probably the “King of modern-day Cricket” was allegedly involved in one such case. In 2001 against South Africa in a test match, match referee suspended Tendulkar for ball tampering. Tendulkar denied the allegation and said that he only removed a piece of grass which was stuck in the seam and was not involved in tampering of any kind. meanwhile, took notice and later ICC removed all the charges on Tendulkar for ball tampering, though ICC still said that he cleaned the ball without the permission of the umpires which is against the ICC code of conduct and the rules of the game.
In 2004 in Australian tri-series against Zimbabwe Rahul Dravid who was a very established and seasoned cricketer from India was caught by the cameras when he was engaging in questionable activities with the ball used. He apparently rubbed the shiny surface of the ball. Rahul Dravid was fined 50% of his match fee for his wrongdoings.
ENGLAND CRICKET TEAM:
Marcus Trescothick admitted in his autobiography, that he used mint saliva to polish the side of the ball which remain for a long time and gave the ball more swing. This admission came 3 years after the conclusion of the ashes 2005 series in which England beat Australia 2-1.
PAKISTAN CRICKET TEAM:
In 2006, Pakistani Team was penalized by the match umpires for tampering with the ball. In this Test match between Pakistan vs England, Pakistan refused and denied that no ball tampering was done by them. As a protest, Pakistan refused to continue to play after tea and did not come out to continue with the Match. Umpires then decided the match in favor of England as per the cricket laws. Darrel Harper was criticized for his decision and the controversy drew deeper when Harper was unable to provide significant proof of any tampering with the ball. He retired from his umpiring career later.
STEVE SMITH, DAVID WARNER and CAMERON BANCROFT
Last year in March 2018, the Australian cricket team was in South Africa, during the third test match of the series when the Australian side was in serious trouble, Steve Smith gave the ball to the Bancroft which was then tampered with the sandpaper, caught by the television cameras. afterward, Cricket Australia had to tackle the matter, which they did with a strict approach, and after accepting their mistake, all three players including Warner and Smith were banned for a year from international and from domestic cricket as well. Bancroft did that act on instructions of both senior player so Cricket Australia minimize his banned and allow him to play domestic cricket in December last year. Steve Smith and David Warner finished their punishment later this March-29th and were free to play international cricket from March 2019 onwards. After this scandal, the Australian coach stepped down from his role and Justin Langer took over the office. In a very emotional presser, Smith apologized to his fans and promised Aussie board and his nation not to repeat this at any cost. The entire scandal is known as “Sandpaper Gate” scandal.
PAKISTAN VS ENGLAND ODI SERIES 2nd ODI AND LIAM PLUNKETT:
LIAM PLUNKETT ALLEGEDLY TAMPERED WITH THE BALL
Pakistan is playing England in their last series before the ICC World Cup, as to finalize their preparation in which 1 T20 and 5 ODI are scheduled. T20 was won by England side quite comfortably while the first ODI was abandoned due to rain. In 2nd ODI England put a massive total on the board of 374 runs. Pakistan in reply started off very well but in the last overs ball started to reverse which grabbed the attention of the match officials.
Cameras caught Liam Plunkett tampering with the ball, He was allegedly rubbing his nails over the white cricket ball to make one side rough enough for reverse swing. The ball condition was very poor in the last overs as it can clearly be seen in the leaked video of the alleged ball tampering.
ICC AND BALL TAMPERING OF LIAM PLUNKETT
This wasn’t the first case of ball tampering from England side none the less, over media pressure ICC took notice but later ICC dropped off all allegations of ball tampering after further investigation into the matter, ICC has given clean chit to Liam Plunkett and so far there has been no objection from the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) over the matter. This ICC decision of dropping off the tampering case related to the richest cricket board “ECB” was not so well received by the cricket fans around the world as many believe that there was certainly something fishy going on as seen in the Plunkett closeup video. Though no action was taken on this ball tampering case it certainly raised some Eyebrows leaving fans wondering about the ICC system of justice.