What is Ball Tampering?
The term ‘Ball Tampering’ basically relates to a malpractice in the game of cricket. It is an act of changing the condition of the ball, illicitly performed by one of the fielders. The main motive of tampering is to improve the swing of the ball. Technically speaking, changing the way ball interacts with air in short, aerodynamics. To encourage more swing, one can apply substances like lip balm, or saliva to make one surface of the ball shiny so that it aids to swing. Contrarily, rubbing the ball with sharp objects such bottle cap, spikes to make the surface rough also comes under ball tampering.
It is unlawful to make any changes to the ball as per Laws of Cricket, apart from the following conditions. Ball can be polished without any synthetic substance or dried with a wet towel and cleaning of mud under supervision.
The umpires are responsible for supervising the condition of the ball and check it time and again. When a fielder is found responsible for tampering, 5 penalty runs are given to the batting side and ball is replaced immediately. Furthermore, the ball selection is in hands of the umpire, or even the batman. For repeated tampering, severe actions can be taken against the offender. Once the game is over, additional allegations are brought against the player who tampered the ball.
Bancroft Ball Tampering
Most recent example being the one from South Africa-Australia test series in which Australian players were involved in ball tampering. Namely, Cameron Bancroft was accused of ball tampering on 24th March’18.
Evidently, videos showed Bancroft rubbing the surface of the ball and then patching a yellow substance, which was later declared as sand paper, on third day of the Third test against South Africa at Newlands Stadium. Later, Bancroft and team’s captain Steve Smith showed up at the press conference at the end of that day’s game.
Bancroft admitted to ball tampering in front of the match referee Andy Pycroft and the press. Smith then disclosed that the plan of tampering the ball was made during lunch time by some ‘leadership group’. Smith and David Warner stepped down from the leadership the very next day. Tim Paine took over the captaincy for rest of the matches.
Smith has been banned for one test match along with penalty of 100% of his match fee and Bancroft has been penalised with 75% of his match fee by ICC.
The Cricket associations all over the world and Australian Sports Commission have universally condemned Australian team. As part of preliminary investigations, on 27th March’18, Sutherland announced suspension the three players and that they would be sent home. Steve Smith and David Warner have been banned for 12 months and Bancroft has been banned for 9 months from Australian cricket team.
This is not the first time that any Team has been accused of Ball Tampering. Although, we just hope that the same is never repeated in the Gentleman’s game ever.