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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Cricket to clamp down on cheats
By Anna Thompson

Former Gloucestershire bowler Mike Smith
Smith represented the PCA at the umpires' meeting
England cricket officials are clamping down on cheating after hearing players condone some types of ball-tampering.

Former England and Gloucestershire bowler Mike Smith told a meeting of umpires that players shine the ball by using lip salve, hair gel and sweets.

But he also knew of extreme measures to roughen up the ball including concealing part of an emery board in a finger plaster.

All are contraventions of the laws and the ECB said it needed addressing.

Alan Fordham, cricket operations manager at the England and Wales Cricket Board, had asked Smith to represent the Professional Cricketers Association at the meeting.

There is a big element of players needing to exercise self-restraint
Alan Fordham

Fordham told BBC Sport: "The laws are there to be obeyed. The reason we had that presentation was because the ECB and the PCA wanted to address the problem.

"We want to have as fair and as competitive a game of cricket as possible."

Unfair play by altering the condition of the ball constitutes Law 42 of the rules of cricket.

Sub-section three states: "It is unfair for anyone to rub the ball in the ground for any reason, interfere with the seams or the surface of the ball, use any implement, or take any further action whatsoever which is likely to alter the condition of the ball."

If one side of a ball is shined it will swing more and if the seam is picked the ball will bounce off it at different angles.

It is not against the rules for a player to shine the ball on his trousers but he should not use lip salve etc.

Fordham does not believe there has been a sudden increase in players' cheating but said it clearly happens.

He has called on umpires to be more vigilant and told cricketers to clean up their acts.

"We want to let the umpires know as much as possible so it gives them a better chance of spotting what's going on," Fordham said.

Mohammad Akram
Akram was reprimanded for ball-tampering last season

"There is a big element of players needing to exercise self-restraint.

"The PCA told us the types of things that are going on and it didn't come as a big surprise but we need to ensure that players play by the laws.

"I think it has always been around, there hasn't been any particular escalation, but it needs addressing."

A team can forfeit five runs if an umpire believes a team has tampered with the ball and individual players can be reported and banned if they continue to cheat.

Last season Sussex paceman Mohammad Akram was reprimanded for ball tampering.

Akram received three penalty points for a Level Two breach of the disciplinary code for an incident during Sussex's match against Warwickshire in May 2004.

Fordham added: "This will give a reasonably clear message of our intentions."


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