“Don’t get caught”. If you have to distill the MCC world cricket committee ‘s recommendations on ball tampering issue that would be it. Don’t do it as flagrantly as Faf du Plessis did in Australia recently. But the most interesting part of the Faf episode was he wasn’t caught by the umpires or on live broadcast but through a footage that surfaced later. How did the footage get there?
There have been murmurs about the role of host broadcasters and though nothing has been proved against them, the committee was also curious. In Faf’s case Channel 9 was the broadcaster. Who would police the policemen, in this case the broadcasters?
They are needed to show conclusive proof of tampering as the umpires can’t watch everything. They can check the status of the ball after every over and see how much its roughed up, but there is nothing like camera evidence. But the question raises about leakages from the broadcasters.
Would the footage have come out had it been an Aussie? Say the popular David Warner or their skipper Steve Smith?
“We were slightly concerned about host broadcasters,” Mike Brearley, chairman of the MCC world cricket committee, said. “That would happen whatever we were to say about the matter or whatever the matter were to be. They have to do things according to regulations and laws. Anyway people have to behave.”
A former cricketer who has done work with international broadcasters talked about how the usual unofficial understanding was that they won’t follow the ball-shiners and look away if the players from any team shine the ball. In other words, mints and lollies aren’t going to be much of a problem.
In the bigger picture, the committee felt there was no real need to change ball tampering laws and were confident that the current framing of it is good enough. Rameez Raja, a member of the committee, put it best. “Mike put it absolutely brilliantly, you must not get caught, it is as simple as that… Try to live within the perimeters as prescribed.”
He also delivered the best line of the day. He was perplexed that the mints and lozenges are being used. “It was a first for me because we were brought up on just scratching the ball.” Laughter all around.
Red card & other rules
* The MCC committee has recommended that the on-field umpires be authorised to send off players if they are deemed to have threatened an umpire, physically assaulted another player, umpire, official or spectator, or committed any other act of violence.
* Under the existing law, catches and stumpings are not permitted if the ball touches any part of the helmet worn by a fielder or wicketkeeper. But the MCC Cricket Committee proposes that such decisions should go in the bowler’s favour.