The ball-tampering saga starring former Australian captain Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft is probably the most notorious tale in modern day cricket. The (in)famous chronicle will be passed on from generation to generation in order to set an example for what not to do in cricket. Smith on Thursday broke down while addressing the media and said: “It hurts!” He apologised to the world and said that he takes full responsibility for the scandal. Smith and Warner have been banned for one year and will not play in this year’s IPL. As for Bancroft, he has been banned for nine months.
The Australian cricket is engulfed in scandal after TV cameras caught Cameron Bancroft attempting to manipulate the condition of the ball during the team’s third Test match against South Africa. Altering the condition of the match ball is against the rules of the sport, contrary to “the spirit of cricket”, and deemed to be “unfair” It is a form of cheating.
What is ball-tampering, its laws and punishment?
Cricket is not only controlled by a set of rules but as per the sport’s laws, it should also be played ‘within the spirit of cricket’. Like every other sport, cricket is a self-regulating entity. The national associations and, ultimately, the International Cricket Council (ICC) enforce the laws. That said, cricket remains tied to gentlemanly ideals and the myth of “fair play.”
Within these laws, there is law 41.3 which identifies changing the condition of the match ball as an offence and unfair play. The law 41.3.2 states: “It is an offence for any player to take any action which changes the condition of the ball.”
Why is the condition of the ball important?
The ability to swing a ball is a prized skill in cricket for bowlers. By changing the condition of one side of the ball can help it to swing and may provide an advantage to the bowler. Ball tampering is done to make the ball reverse swing – an art in which the ball starts moving towards the shiny side.
What is the punishment for ball-tampering?
If a player is caught with tampering the ball, the umpire can impose a five-run penalty against the bowling side and replace the ball. The accused player may later be fined 50 percent to 100 percent of their match fee and can be slapped with three or four demerit points. With four demerit points come one Test ban.
How Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft tampered with the condition of the ball?
Shortly before tea, Bancroft was caught on camera by Zotani Oscar pulling a yellow object from his pocket. He was seen rubbing the yellow object on the ball in an effort to scuff it to help achieve reverse swing. When he realised that the cameras had spotted him doing the ill-deed, Bancroft was seen hiding the object in his trouser.