Millennium Post

Unlike cricket

Unlike cricket
The actions portrayed by the Australian cricket led by captain Steve Smith in their match against South Africa was condemnable. Cameron Bancroft's tampering with the ball was tantamount to cheating. The onfield cameras caught him in the act. What was unpardonable was the revelation that the act was not only preplanned but included several senior players who together hatched the conspiracy. All this occurred during the third day of the third test against South Africa. What defies logic and reason is that the same "crime" has happened time and again in recent years and the lessons have just not been learnt. To cite some of the instances of ball-tampering in international cricket one needs to go back to 1977 when England bowler John Lever was accused of applying Vaseline on one side of the ball to make it swing better during the third test against India in Chennai. In 1990, New Zealand had used bottle tops to tamper the ball during the third test against Pakistan in Faisalabad. In 1994, England captain Michael Atherton rubbed loose dirt from his pocket onto the ball during the first test against South Africa at Lord's. Six years later, Pakistan paceman Waqar Younis worked on the ball with his fingers in a match against South Africa. The bowler was the first player to be suspended for ball tampering after being found guilty and also fined half of his match fees. During a controversial test in 2006 at the Oval, England was awarded five extra runs after Pakistan was accused of ball tampering by the umpires. Pakistan refused to take the field after the tea break and forfeited the test. Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi was caught on camera biting the ball during a one-day international against Australia in Perth and banned for two Twenty20 Internationals. South African batsman Faf du Plessis scuffed the ball on the zippers of his trousers while fielding during a test against Pakistan in 2013. In 2014, South Africa's Vernon Philander scratched the ball with his finger and thumbs during a test against Sri Lanka at Galle – he was found guilty and fined 75 per cent of his match fees. In 2016, Faf du Plessis was charged for ball tampering yet again during the second test against Australia at Hobart after the South African skipper applied saliva from a mint or lollipop onto the ball. Thus, ball tampering has very much been in trend even when the players knew it was outlawed. It is, indeed, sad that lessons and examples set by legends like Bradman, Benaud, Worrel, Sobers, Compton, Cowdrey, Pataudi, Vishwanath et all have been forgotten. True, professionalism was not in but they played a "gentleman's game" like true champions and for their nation's honour. But the latest scandal in the Cape Town test match is just not cricket.
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