Well, I’m having fun. Here is the third issue I would like to highlight. (Don’t worry. I’ll get to lbw next). Darrell Hair. International incidents. The issue is ball tampering - and wondering why the rules currently allow it.
Shining the ball. It is common practice for players to deliberately shine one side of the ball by rubbing it against their ‘inside leg’ during the course of an innings. The express purpose of this practice is to make the ball behave in an erratic manner in the air i.e. to swing. The result of shining is that the ball is aero dynamically lop-sided.
While a clever lawyer might argue that shining the ball actually reduces the damage inflicted on the ball in play, the cleverer lawyer would point out that the intention and effect is to gain unfair advantage.
It is explicitly against the rules to “tamper with the ball”. Tendulkar was suspended a few years ago for fiddling with the seam, which makes it easier for the bowler to hold the seam and bowl certain balls. Pakistan were ready to go to war when accused of ball tampering by scapegoat Darrell Hair. Thank god it wasn’t an Indian umpire who called them on it!
Yet the Poms have specifically delegated the shining job to Marcus Trescothick who is more skilled at shining the ball than others on his team and inducing the ball to reverse swing! He partly in the team as a specialist first slip and designated ball shiner!
The solution. Legislate the spirit of the no tampering rule consistently, before the ambiguity starts world war 3. Ball shining is ball tampering even though it is currently explicitly allowed by the rules. It should be banned.
OK. I don’t much like that solution either because I like watching swing bowling. But allowing some types of ball tampering while not allowing others seems like a recipe for conflict and confusion to me. There is an issue of fairness to the batsman is there not? Why can the batsman not pick the ball up and shine it on the dull side to stop it swinging?!
Click HERE for a selection of robustly expressed views on ball tampering.