Law 42.3 forbids cricketers from rubbing the ball on the ground, interfering with its seam or surface, or using any implement that can alter the condition of the ball to thereby gain unfair advantage.
Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith are the talk of the town as South Africa V Australia test series which already had a lot of controversies, got one more. Bancroft was caught on camera while he was rubbing the ball with a Sandpaper to roughen a side more and later he admitted that. Steve Smith revealed that it was a team strategy however the coach was not involved.
Usually in such cases, a fine of 100% of match fee is imposed and even a ban is imposed if it is a high level offence. The ban is dawning upon them as they were caught red handed and later accepted it as well but here are five instances of recent time where players escaped completely or with just a fine after ball tampering:
1. James Anderson SAvsENG, 2010
This happened in the Cape Town test of England’s tour of South Africa. England couldn’t get the ball to swing in that match and later Stuart Broad was seen stopping the ball with his boot on multiple occassions. He was trying to spike the ball to make a side rough manually. This tore a part of leather and just after this, James Anderson was seen rubbing that torn area to worsen the ball’s condition. They were lucky as no charges were taken against them and the matter silently faded away.
2. Micheal Atherton ENGvsSA, 1994
Micheal Atherton was accused of ball tampering after he was suspected of altering the ball with a foreign substance in the Lord’s test. It was later revealed by Atherton himself that he had dirt in his pocket, which he said was to dry his hands. He was seen rubbing the dirt on the ball to roughen it on multiple occassions. He however escaped the ball tampering charges but was fined a sum of €2000 for lying to the match referee and for not disclosing the fact that he had dirt in his pocket.
3. Faf du Plesis PAKvsSA , 2013
This scene was made by the South African player in the Second test of PAKvsSA test series in UAE, 2013. Du Plesis was caught on camera while he was vigourously trying to shine the ball, which reportedly caused a change in its condition. He was rubbing the ball with his trousers, purposely by the zip of the pocket to roughen a side to prepare the ball for reverse swing. He was caught on camera by the umpire and the ball was changed. Pakistan also got 5 penalty runs due to this act by the South Africans. Faf du Plesis was lucky enough to escape with just a fine of 50% of his match fee and avoided a ban which made many legends furious and question the integrity of the ICC.
4. Vernon Philander SLvsSA, 2014
Vernon Philander was found guilty of tampering the ball in the Galle test in 2014 test series in Sri Lanka. The medium pacer was accused by the umpires on vigoursouly rubbing the ball with his nail to alter its condition. The law allows the players to rub the ball but not to scratch it. This was the 2nd time within a gap of 1 year that South Africa was caught in a ball tampering scandal. Philander was seen by the umpire while he was using his thumb and a finger to scratch the ball. He was fined 75% of his match fee for this incident but was lucky to escape the ban even after getting caught red handed.
5. Faf du Plesis AUSvsSA, 2016
Faf du Plesis makes another appearance in the list and this incident is one of the most talked incident of ball tampering. This happened in the Hobart test of South Africa’s tour of Australia in 2016. He was seen on camera while he was using the saliva of a mint candy which he was eating at that point. He rubbed his finger on the candy to get the sugary saliva and rubbed it on the ball to shine it more on one end. He was accused of ball tampering but decided to appeal against it as the Ball Tampering Law was vague and didn’t exactly stopped him from doing so. He was successful with his appeal as he was cleared for the Adelaide day-night test match. However the South African captain was fined 100% of his match fee for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct.