|Is it Ball Manipulation or Ball Tampering?|
|by Gulu Ezekiel|
|Sep 11, 2006|
Former India Test opening bowler Atul Wassan has
admitted during a TV show that he and other Indian
bowlers had tampered with the ball during their
Speaking last week on Zee Sports '22 Yards' programme,
Wassan responding to a direct query from anchor Gaurav
Gala categorically stated: "Sure, we [Indian bowlers]
have picked the seam, we have lifted the seam with our
finger nails. We have put some sort of cream to glaze
This is pushing the envelope of the law. But using
bottle caps and other items to tamper with the ball is
pushing things too far."
Wassan said the act should be referred to as "ball
manipulation" rather than 'ball tampering' and
felt the ICC should define the degrees of 'ball
manipulation' just as it has defined the degrees
of chucking. "After all, it has been going on for
over 125 years of Test cricket.
It may be recalled that Manoj Prabhakar faced such
accusations during India?s 1990 tour of New Zealand
(where Wassan also played) and also when South Africa
visited India for the first time for an ODI series in
Meanwhile, speaking from Christchurch, New Zealand
fast bowling legend Sir Richard Hadlee has also
weighed in with his opinion. Back in 1995, Sir Richard
had been quoted as being in favour of legalising
Clarifying his stand, Sir Richard says that earlier
comment of his was said "tongue-in-cheek".
That comment was based around the fact that it was
difficult for umpires to monitor consistently so why
not legalise it provided players used what was natural
on their body to make it fair and consistent for
everyone? That theory excluded bottle tops, knives,
scissors etc. My feeling then was it would develop new
bowling skills, batsmen would need to combat the
vagrancies of what the ball would do and it would
create a new spectacle in the game.
The point now is that the law is specific and players
cannot change the natural state of the ball and if
they do they are penalised. Unless the law is changed
players must respect the principle of fair play.
In another sensational disclosure, a freelance
cameraman has revealed to this writer that the
Australian bowlers were caught using a unique method
to pick the seam during their tour of Bangladesh
earlier this year.
The person who does not want his identity revealed for
obvious reasons told me: "One of their top bowlers
would spike the ball as he used his heel to pick it up
off the ground. He confronted us and jokingly warned
us from revealing the tapes to the Match Referee".