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Thread: Ball Tampering

  1. #1
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    Ball Tampering

    Here's another more controversial topic.

    I've always wondered by using your nails or picking the seam was morally less desirable than using spit and rubbing to shine the ball. To me they seem like equal but opposite processes; one is to preseve shine and the other to destroy it. So why is one considered ball tampering and the other not?

    As far as doing stuff to the ball, I reckon you should be able to do anything to the ball you wish as long as you don't get any outside help from a bottlecap or Vaseline etc. Because if you stuff-up the roughing up of the ball, it's to your detriment and you have to live with that.

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    Cricketer Of The Year Anil's Avatar
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    Probably because one is preserving the condition of the ball, the other is altering, one is perceived as constructive and the other destructive.

    The furtive and sneaky ways in which players have gone about doing it also probably has contributed to branding it an act of cricketing villiany.

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    Hall of Fame Member luckyeddie's Avatar
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    Totally in agreement.

    Let's have seam picking.

    I did it so it must be OK.
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    Probably because one is preserving the condition of the ball, the other is altering, one is perceived as constructive and the other destructive.
    Two issues:

    1) Is shining the ball really 'preserving the condition'? If that were the aim, you'd shine BOTH sides. As any swing bowler will tell you, that's just insane!

    2) So what if one process is destructive (as it is)? If you destroy the ball and suddenly your swing dies, it's your own fault and you have to bowl with it.

    I dunno, I guess I just fail to see the objective difference between shining and scuffing the ball. They're both done naturally with no external factors other than your own body parts/fluids yet one is encouraged/essential to swing bowling and the other is stigmatised.

    The furtive and sneaky ways in which players have gone about doing it also probably has contributed to branding it an act of cricketing villiany.
    This is probably more accurate. As I said, I'm not in favour of using Vaseline or bottle-tops to alter the condition of the ball.



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    from a layman's point of view....

    attempts to keep the shine could be perceived as selectively preserving an existing condition, even if done unevenly. If it is done by 'fair' means then this should have less effect as the ball gets older & softer. scuffing can be seen as an acceleration of the deterioration of the ball. as the ball gets older it gets softer & has less pace for the batsmen & harder to score boundaries, 3' etc.

    scuffing can be seen as an acceleration to this condition so as to further restrict the run rate. this could be a significant advantage if your bowling attack was weak so far as pace goes, and would allow your spin attack to get better grip on the ball & pitch for an extended period. if your pitches were tailored to these conditions it would have a more pronounced effect. doesn't scuffing also accelerate the onset of 'reverse swing'?? - there could be a perception of this not being a 'natural' movement of the ball & therefore 'evil'.

    i don't know when these rules were made, but if my theory is right then ball deterioration would be better suited to 'sub continent' pitches & conditions. my guess is that the governing body was mainly made up of 'English Gentlemen', who perhaps saw this as an unfair advantage to the colonies.

    finally it could be the old tradition of cricket as being a game played by gentlemen in good competitve spirit etc....maintaining something can be seen as a positive action & deterioration as negative. the old good V evil & ungentlemany conduct etc - it's not the done thing dear boy, it's just not cricket!!!!

    i agree that the rule is unbalanced and that it needs revising - i agree that the furtive nature in scuffing has seen this as being underhanded, whereas everyone can see the polishing attempts. i also think the issue opens up other cans of worms regarding the overall desired effect of the game - if we allow for both actions does this mean we will get balls @ 30 overs behaving as if they were 50 overs old as a result of scuffing? one compensation would be to bring in the new ball earlier - but a new ball would be another advantage to the bowler.!!!

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    doesn't scuffing also accelerate the onset of 'reverse swing'?? - there could be a perception of this not being a 'natural' movement of the ball & therefore 'evil'.
    Yes it does but so what if the ball goes reverse? I reckon it's only been so successful because it's been thought of as the big demon in fast bowling and batsman don't know how to play it. Just like every other new 'ball' of some sort (Murali and Saqlain's ball which goes the other way), it takes exposure against it to learn how to play it. It IS tougher to bat against (reverse swing tends to be later in the air) but when it stops being thought of as some sort of mysterious, magical ball, a lot of the mystery of how to play it will disappear too.

    finally it could be the old tradition of cricket as being a game played by gentlemen in good competitve spirit etc....maintaining something can be seen as a positive action & deterioration as negative. the old good V evil & ungentlemany conduct etc - it's not the done thing dear boy, it's just not cricket!!!!
    This, I suspect, is where resistance to a lot of good ideas comes from.

    i also think the issue opens up other cans of worms regarding the overall desired effect of the game - if we allow for both actions does this mean we will get balls @ 30 overs behaving as if they were 50 overs old as a result of scuffing? one compensation would be to bring in the new ball earlier - but a new ball would be another advantage to the bowler.!!!
    It's just like any other ball; the ball itself doesn't do the damage. The bowler does. The reason guys like Waqar and Wasim have done well with the reverse swing thing is because they are skilled bowlers and bowl it well. If the ball starts moving around a lot after 30 overs, then so be it. You still have to be able to bowl the reverse swinging ball well. The disadvantage with destroying one side of the ball like that is that seam bowlers get less movement and spinners would probably get less of a go. But even then, you still have to have guys who can bowl well.

    So to me it's just like any other ball; it's a new thing which has to be played like any other ball. It's not mystical or unplayable. It';s just different. And to me, shining of the ball is tantamount to tampering with it under the current definition because it prevents a natural condition (the deterioration of the ball) from occurring. Using nails etc. goes the other way and to me, they are morally equivalent. Objectively speaking, there's no difference.

    Believe me, I'd really like to understand the rationale behind why one is worse than the other but in all my years of playing cricket at a high level and in lower junior levels, no-one has been able to give me a satisfactory explantion.

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    no arguements from me TC on any of that!!!

    I think there is an over emphasis on the 'gentlemanly' tradition - hence why some teams & players lack the doggedness / mongrel to get into a bare knuckles fight (figuratively speaking) - best recent example i can think of to illustrate is S Waugh V WI in the Carribean a couple of seasons ago - turning point of match, series and both respective nation's cricketing fortunes since!!!!

    my problem re the 30 V 50 overs isn't so much the ball movement, but rather it softening up too soon and this being exploited as a tactic to help slow the run rate down - captains already retain the old ball if their attack is being spanked & i am concerned they may try this for an extra 10 overs or so earlier. further more i am concerned that if scuffing became accepted could this discourage the development of seam bowling? hence my comment to introducing the new ball earlier to compensate for this...

    like alot of things it's a mess...great thread tho to get the grey matter ticking over!!!!!


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    further more i am concerned that if scuffing became accepted could this discourage the development of seam bowling?
    I see your point and indeed it might restrict the use of seam bowlers in short-sighted team play. But if any team just picks a bunch of swing bowlers purely because of a rule change, they are doomed to fail. Witness the proliferation of leggies when Warnie was bowling well. Very few of them were as good and regardless of the fact that batsmen the world over had deficiencies against leg-spin, most of them didn't last purely because they just weren't good enough.

    Same with swing bowling. You pick your best bowlers, regardless of what they bowl. If you happen to then pick a swing bowler, stuff like this should probably be allowed, if you want to remain consistent.

  9. #9
    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    I think the key point here is that whereas shining the ball doesn't have a great effect on the condition of the ball, scuffing does.

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    I think the key point here is that whereas shining the ball doesn't have a great effect on the condition of the ball, scuffing does.
    This isn't in dispute. I just wonder why that means the activity should be stigmatised. So the ball gets wrecked quicker. Why is that a problem? As I said, if you get it wrong, only the fielding team loses out on that one so if they stuff it up, it's on their heads. As long as there's no artificial substances used to alter the condition of the ball (which shining/spitting on/loading it up with saliva most certainly DOES), it's all fair game, really.

    So once again; why does one form of natural tampering get ruled against whereas another equal but opposite one doesn't?

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    I think it's probably the Old Boys' mentality.
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    So once again; why does one form of natural tampering get ruled against whereas another equal but opposite one doesn't?
    'coz euthanasia is a crime, while viagara is fine ....you get the drift.
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  13. #13
    State 12th Man
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    The ICC's stance over this has been typically spineless, and indecisive.

    A few years back when this issue raised its head, some concrete steps should have been taken to correct it once and for all.

    I think the most important thing to consider is the effect that allowing the tampering the ball with nails and seam picking would have on the game of cricket. Would it add another dimension (the art of ball tampering would be offically born)?, Would it make the game more evenly balanced between ball and bat? Would it make boring batting dominated contests more interesting? Would it produce more results? etc. The answer to all these questions is probably yes, so why not make it offical. We all know that seam picking and use of nails has been goin on for a long time (like TC mentioned I think), so why not make it legit.

    But, this is ICC we are talking about, who actually came up with the rule of above shoulder height bouncer rule! How against the spirit of the game is that. I think until the ICC is not fully comprised of unbiased people, and intelligent people people, the game would only recede.

  14. #14
    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    At the moment, there's more positive results in Tests than there has been for a long time - a few draws could make things more interesting IMO.

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    International Debutant Eyes_Only's Avatar
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    Here is the section of the 2000 Code of Laws that deals with this issue. As umpires, we are limited in what we can do, however Law 42.3 states quite clearly the protocol that needs to be followed in cases of ball tampering.

    The match ball changing its condition

    (a) Any fielder may
    (i) polish the ball provided that no artificial substance is used and that such polishing wastes no time.
    (ii) remove mud from the ball under the supervision of the umpire.
    (iii) dry a wet ball on a towel.

    (b) It is unfair for anyone to rub the ball on the ground for any reason, interfere with any of the seams or the surface of the ball, use any implement, or take any other action whatsoever which is likely to alter the condition of the ball, except as permitted in (a) above.

    (c) The umpires shall make frequent and irregular inspections of the ball.

    (d) In the event of any fielder changing the condition of the ball unfairly, as set out in (b) above, the umpires after consultation shall
    (i) change the ball forthwith. It shall be for the umpires to decide on the replacement ball, which shall, in their opinion, have had wear comparable with that which the previous ball had received immediately prior to the contravention.
    (ii) inform the batsmen that the ball has been changed.
    (iii) award 5 penalty runs to the batting side.
    (iv) inform the captain of the fielding side that the reason for the action was the unfair interference with the ball.
    (v) inform the captain of the batting side as soon as practicable of what has occurred.
    (vi) report the occurrence as soon as possible to the Executive of the fielding side and any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain and team concerned.

    (e) If there is any further instance of unfairly changing the condition of the ball in that innings, the umpires after consultation shall
    (i) repeat the procedure in (d)(i), (ii) and (iii) above.
    (ii) inform the captain of the fielding side of the reason for the action taken and direct him to take off forthwith the bowler who delivered the immediately preceding ball. The bowler thus taken off shall not be allowed to bowl again in that innings.
    (iii) inform the captain of the batting side as soon as practicable of what has occurred.
    (iv) report this further occurrence as soon as possible to the Executive of the fielding side and any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain and team concerned.


    ************************************************** ****************************************

    The crux of the law is that as long as no artifical substance is used to damage the ball and in the Umpire's opinion, the players aren't damaging the ball, then it's ok. The Umpires must make regular inspections of the ball at all intervals and at the fall of wickets or at the end of each over to ensure that there is no tampering. If they feel that there is through these inspections and watching bowlers and/or fielders during play, then these protocols apply.

    Hope this clears it up guys...

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