Can players ever abstain from indulging in questionable game tactics? Can’t the players focus merely on upholding the spirit of competition instead of resorting to vile ploys or tactics in their attempts to make a contest thrilling? The basics of the game imply, if things aren’t going your way, you try. In fact, you keep trying. And you try harder.
You are not to tamper with any aspect of the game that directly results in affecting the nature of the contest. But lest it be forgotten that even top-notch international players are susceptible to doing the uninitiated. Not that it directly corroborates to impacting the game positively.
To their defense, the argument would almost always point to be being ‘occupied’ in the throes of the competition.
Representing the contest in the top echelons of international competition automatically entrusts a world of responsibility on athletes. But what’s gone wrong in this great game of ours? Why are we increasingly seeing unwanted episodes of ball-tampering? Faf did it earlier. Remember the mint-fiasco? Shahid Afridi went to the extent of biting the cricket ball, seemingly in an attempt to sort out the ‘threading’ of the seam.
Now, the latest in the infamous list includes Cameron Bancroft, a relatively inexperienced batsman who’s just about secured his Test spot in an acerbically challenging Australian line-up.
Consider the scenario. You are bowling well, the batsmen are floundering for runs. There is pressure in the air as also in the minds. The ball is moving well, if not well enough to shackle the technique of batsmen who look set to mount pressure. Suddenly the ball is thrown into a fielder’s hand. He decides to do more than just rub the red-ball, seemingly losing the mercurial shine, a must for seamers to exert pressure on batsmen.
Applying the Yellow On the Red
All different camera angles captured the very visible scenes transpiring at Cape Town. Bancroft was seen removing a small, unidentifiable yellow item from the pockets and was set to use it on the ball. This is precisely when the umpires caught him doing the ‘unthinkable’. Something that can also be called, for the lack of better word, ‘unwarranted.’ He immediately hid the substance.
But surprisingly when confronted by umpires, he lied about using a black cloth to wipe dust from his glasses. But by that time, the damage was already done. In the sense that a new controversy broke through in a series that hasn’t been stranger to any.
First, we had the very vocal verbal clash, rather a war of words between the Aussies and Proteas over the Warner and de Kock verbatim. As if it wasn’t redundant already getting personal with one another, there came along the infamous ‘shouldergate’. Rabada banned. Then the banned overturned.
Now we have the Australians in the middle of a third unwanted saga
What is the excuse that Steve Smith is going to put up with? It’s anyone’s call. But here’s a thing that cannot be forgotten. Sportsmen are to contest with purity of spirit, not slither away from it. Why not resort to talent and skill instead?
Moreover, ball-tampering isn’t an unintentional or unforeseen error. It is a flagrant violation of the laws of the game.
One wonders what Faf Du Plessis’ reaction be, someone who’s no stranger to an earlier controversy himself. He applied mint to the ball. He was equally at fault as Bancroft is. Funny it is to note that in their bid to outdo one another, players are stopping to such lows.
How else is one supposed to dub such episodes?
Perhaps it is time to recollect what the ICC dictates when it comes to unwarranted measures like ball-tampering. According to the rules stated and put into practice by the ICC, the players are quite simply barred from interfering with the ball’s surface or seam. Under no situations are they to tamper or affect the state of the ball. Rubbing of the ball on the ground is not permissible and neither is bringing its core in contact with any other object other than a part of the clothing worn by an athlete.
Therefore, in lines with the above dictum, not only did Bancroft violate the rules of the game by taking to the field with a vile substance whose identity hasn’t yet been confirmed but on top of it, he went on to bring it in contact with the ball being used in the ensuing contest.
One’s not sure if that is the desirous conduct that one of world cricket’s elite units should demonstrate. Do the Aussies have anything to defend Bancroft’s ball tampering in this case? It’s anyone’s call. The truth is in front of us.