Change The Rules On Ball-Tampering

Shahid Afridi’s ball-chewing isn’t the first time a cricketer’s mouth has been accused of breaking the rules. A few years ago, Rahul Dravid took some flack for shining the ball with saliva illegally enriched by a sweet he was chewing at the time. (How that affected his saliva’s potency still remains a scientific mystery.)

Over at Short of a Length, achettup tries to make a facetious argument in favor of ball tampering. Putting aside the jokes, there is a more difficult question here: why do we allow players to shine one side of the ball, but not pick at its stitching?

The typical answer has been that in cricket, we account for an extraordinary amount of latitude in certain areas — no set size for cricket fields, for instance, or standard pitch conditions– but we don’t mess with the equipment. But is that right? Didn’t Adam Gilchrist put something or the other in his glove during the 2007 World Cup final? Haven’t bats changed and evolved in the last twenty years (and why isn’t there a set bat ‘weight’)?

There’s another, simpler answer to the puzzle: the ball in a cricket match does a lot more than the bat. The ball drives the plot; the bat, like a fictional character, merely responds. The ball sets things in motion, even if it’s a batsman’s game after that. If bowlers were to decimate the ball — basically reduce it to pieces so it won’t bounce — then the game would end prematurely.

That’s better reasoning, but I’m still not satisfied. After all, balls are still battered against advertising boards, and they’re still replaced — sometimes by a mandatory policy — after a certain point. Perhaps we should allow for a more flexible standard: let the bowling side do what they want with the ball, until the umpires — who expect it every over — decide it needs to be changed. If we’re going to stack the odds against bowlers with friendly pitches and fields, we might as well throw them a bone once in a while.

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4 thoughts on “Change The Rules On Ball-Tampering

  1. neel123 says:

    You mother fu**er, instead of pointing at Dravid and trying to divert the issue, accept the fact that Afridi is just one of many notorious Pakistanis on the cricket arena.

    It is good that such crooks were not allowed in IPL.

  2. […] a comment » But Shahid Afridi ate it. Here’s the video of the incident I mentioned in my previous post, when Rahul Dravid was accused of sweetening a cricket ball to tamper with it (oh, the gourmet […]

  3. […] Link: Change The Rules On Ball-Tampering « Ducking Beamers: A Cricket Blog […]

  4. The mandatory ball change after 34 overs must be one of the most unfair laws in the game! It was devised by Sunil Gavaskar when he was the ICC Cricket Committee chairman! Not surprising, considering he was a batsman!

    The first step towards redressing the balance should be to have a quota on the ICC Cricket Committee, the group which is mainly responsible for the laws. There should be an equal proportion of former/current bowlers and batsmen. Currently, there are 8 batsmen to 3 bowlers! (The bowlers are Simon Taufel, Tim May and Ian Bishop).

    When you have such disproportionate representation, naturally, when you have a law change which will favour batsmen, it will clearly get through as former batsmen have a soft spot for their ‘brethren’!

    Ball tampering should be legalised! When you have bats like the Mongoose which may be used by international batsmen, you should definitely allow bowlers to change the condition of the ball!

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