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Famous ball tampering incidents: From Sachin Tendulkar to Marcus Trescothick

There have been a number of incidents of ball tampering with players getting fines, suspensions and bans for the action.

By: Express Web Desk |
Updated: November 23, 2016 8:53:18 am
ball tampering, virat kohli ball tampering, virat kohli vs england, faf du plessis, du plessis, sachin tendulkar, rahul dravid, shoaib akhtar, inzamam ul haq, bishan singh bedi, cricket news, sports news The allegation against Virat Kohli rubbed the ball with residue of a sweet that was in his mouth, thus being guilty of ball tampering. (Source: Reuters)

After Faf du Plessis being accused of ball tampering and being fined 100 per cent of his match fee in South Africa’s Test win, allegations against India’s Test captain Virat Kohli arose in the English media for the same reason in the first Test between India and England. The allegation was that Kohli rubbed the ball with residue of a sweet that was in his mouth, thus being guilty of ball tampering.

The allegation would cease to be anything more thatn that as an ICC clause related to ball tampering says that a complain regarding the incident should be made to the match referee five days after the incident. The Rajkot Test ended on 13th November and thus almost ten days before the allegation arose.

Ball tampering refers to the action of changing the condition of the ball through artificial means. While Kohli may be safe because of a clear ICC clause regarding the issue, there have been others who haven’t been got away that easily. Here is a look at some incidents of cricketers caught being a little too clever on the field, with varying levels of repurcussions:

1.  Sachin Tendulkar (India tour of South Africa 2001)

Mike Denness was the match referee and also the name that would have made the top-five most hated men list in 2001 in India. Denness referred to a video of Tendulkar running his fingers on the seam. It did seem implausible to the naked eye that he could have changed the ball’s condition in any way and Tendulkar himself said that he was only trying to take out the dirt from the seam in wet conditions. Tendulkar was one of the six Indian players given a suspended punishment which included captain Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag. Denness was ostracised in the Indian media as being racist with even commentators like Ravi Shastri echoing the allegation. India then threatened to pull out of the tour. The losses that would be incurred terified the South Africa board and they agreed to not allow Dennes to officiate the third and final Test. With the match referee shut out, the ICC refused to grant the match official status and Shaun Pollock’s century scored in that Test was never counted.

2. John Lever (England tour of India 1976-77)

Known famously as the ‘Vaseline Incident’, India’s then-captain Bishan Singh Bedi accused John Lever of rubbing Vaseline on the ball to extract more swing. India had lost the series 3-1 after losing the latter of the two Test matches in Madras and Calcutta and that is when Bedi made the accusations. The ball Lever used was tested and found to have traces of vaseline. However, the incident was quietly burried and forgotten. It is interesting to note that John Lever played 13 Tests after that and could never match his performances on that Indian tour.

4. Waqar Younis (Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka 2000)

Although allegations against them turned out to be unfounded, Pakistan have been notorious for the number of ball tampering allegations that have been levelled against them over the years. This has included admitting of scratching the ball with a bottle-top in County Cricket in the 1980’s. In 2000, Waqar Younis became the first player to be fined for ball-tampering. Younis was seemingly working on the ball with his fingers and was fined 50 per cent of his match fee and was given a one-match ban.

6. Rahul Dravid (India tour of Zimbabwe 2005)

This is a name that one wouldn’t expect to find on this list but Rahul Dravid was fined 75 per cent of his match fee during India’s tour of Zimbabwe. Apparently, Dravid had seen players shining the ball with mint while playing county cricket and used a half-eaten lozenge.

5. Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan tour of Zimbabwe 2002-03)

Pakistan has a chequered history as far as ball tampering is concerned. During the 2002-03 Zimbabwe tour Shoaib Akhtar was reprimanded of tampering with the ball. The allegation was confirmed, throughout his career, the paceman was caught biting into the ball and doing various other things that him on the wrong side of Law 42.3.

7. Inzamam-Ul-Haq (Pakistan tour of England 2004)

Umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove changed Pakistan’s ball when they thought that the visitors had doctored it and further penalised them five runs. Inzamam Ul Haq staged his protest by refusing to lead his team into the middle at the Oval for the final session of the day. After 20 minutes, the match was ruled in England’s favour. The repurcussions didn’t stop there as Inzamam vigorously defended his team’s innocence and Hair momentarily lost his job as an ICC Umpire. The match was later declared as drawn and was reverted back to a win for England.

8. Marcus Trescothick (The Ashes 2005)

The famous 2005 Ashes was when England finally managed to triumph over Australia after being on the wrong side of the scorecard for over 19 years. The win was largely due to the devastating reverse swing that Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Steve Harmisson managed to generate. Marcus Trescothick, in his autobiography that came out three years later, revealed that it was his task to keep the shine on the ball for as long as possible “with a bit of spit and a lot of polish.

“It had been common knowledge in county cricket for some time that certain sweets produced saliva which, when applied to the ball for cleaning purposes, enabled it to keep its shine for longer and therefore its swing,” he said. Although his revelation amounted to ball-tampering, Australia let it pass and it was forgotten.

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