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Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 15:14 GMT
Tougher line needed on ball tampering?
Waqar Younis
The subject of ball tampering is nothing new. For the first time, however, a player has been banned after being found guilty of altering the condition of the ball.

But was the one-match suspension handed out to Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis punishment enough?

The Pakistan team were first caught up in a ball tampering controversy during their 1992 tour of England, when the reverse swing obtained by Waqar and Wasim Akram enabled them to win the Test series 2-1.

Then England captain Mike Atherton found himself in hot water two years later, when TV pictures showed him apparently rubbing dirt on the ball during a Test against South Africa at Lord's.

Shoaib Akhtar came under scrutiny during last year's World Cup, but these are not isolated incidents.

So where do you stand on the ball-tampering issue?

Is the banning of Waqar a belated attempt to prevent players putting one over on the umpires?

Or is it a knee jerk reaction by a game desperate to be seen to be cleaning up its act in the wake of recent match-fixing scandals?

Is a tougher line needed on ball tampering?


HAVE YOUR SAY



Before people start pointing the finger accusingly towards Pakistan, they should examine themselves
  Humair Malik, UK
Cricket really is no longer a gentleman's game. If a Pakistani, an Indian, an Australian and a South African were all caught on video tampering with the ball, there is no doubt in my mind that the South Asians would be punished more severely than the Australian or the South African. A similar scenario was seen developing with the recent match-fixing scandal. The South Africans at first dismissed the charges against Cronje as ridiculous because it was the Indian police who came out with the allegations. Mark Waugh and Shane Warne got away with barely a slap on the wrist. Indians and Pakistanis are always blamed for match-fixing. It's always been South Asian players accused of chucking the ball too. Fortunately the rest of the world now knows that cricket in countries outside South Asia is also corrupt. Curiously, most of these allegations against South Asian cricketers seem to come from south of the equator. I think John Reid should get a life ban from cricket, and the Australian and South African cricket boards should clean up their respective acts before pointing their fingers at others.
SD, USA

I think that the match referee John Reid took matters too far. He has always been biased in his decisions and it is not suprising that a Pakistani player has been the first player to be charged for ball tampering. The main issue should be that of the match fixing allegations, and they impact this has on the sport. Before people start pointing the finger accusingly towards Pakistan, they should examine themselves.
Humair Malik, UK



Lance Klusener was clearly scratching the ball in the same match, so why wasn't he fined or banned?
  Mohammed Zaheer, UK
First of all I would like to point out my opinion that i dont think Waqar was ball-tampering. My reasons for this are that when Waqar was supposedly caught tampering, the match referee John Reid asked the two umpires to examine the ball and they did so, but they did not find anything unusual with the state of the ball, so my question is that why did Mr Reid continue with his accusation and ban Waqar Younis?
Khuram Hussain, UK

Ball tampering has been in existence since the game was introduced. However, it should not be tolerated as it is a form of cheating and bad sportsmanship, hence eradicating the idea of Fairplay.
Sudzyatwudzy, Canada

Lance Klusener was clearly scratching the ball in the same match, just check out the television coverage of the same match and it is proven - so why wasn't he fined or banned? It's always one rule for one and another for another, and Pakistanis are always in the firing line!
Mohammed Zaheer, UK



Why don't the western playing nations get off our back and accept that we are the most talented cricketers in the world
  Asif Anwar, England/Pakistan
Tony Greig is right in saying the rest of the world are jealous of Pakistan's ability to reverse swing the ball. Waqar Younis was doing something to the ball, but the umpires said the ball was fine, but John Reid had to interfere. If the ball has been tampered, it should be changed. Why wasn't it done in this case? It was John Reid who complained over Soaib's bowling action, when the umpires were satisfied with it. In my view John Rieid has it in for Pakistan.
Waqas Ahmad, England

When an English player, such as Mike Atherton, is clearly caught on camera tampering with the ball, it is called the 'alleged' incident. When a Pakistani, such as Waqar, is spotted then inspite of two umpires' evidence to the contrary, he is punished. John Reid is another in the line of umpiring officials who feed the media appetite for accusations against Pakistan. Why don't the western playing nations get off our back and accept that we are the most talented cricketers in the world?
Asif Anwar, England

Once Imran Kahn himself told the media that he used to tamper with the ball. The Pakistan manager should look into ball tampering his own side first before accusing India of match fixing.
Rajeev Soorma, USA

Ball tampering or shining of the ball? As a youngster in the streets of Karachi, I was fascinated that every fast bowler's pants were red. It was considered a sign of your interest in the game and your enthusiasm to make that 60 over old ball go like a brand spanking new one. Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lilly, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Geoff Thompson, Ian Botham and in the old black and white clips the old greats all do it. The fielders and sometimes the wicket keepers give it a hand. When did this extra effort become an illegal thing? As long as the game has been played, the players tried to alter the ball. Now it is illegal. It pains me to see this bitterness in the game. It is a game, play it and try to win!
Umair Muzaffar, USA



The ICC should monitor umpires on a regular basis because it seems that some umpires are biased against certain teams or players. It is important because TV cannot catch you that easy.
  Hamed Rauf, USA
I think the ball tampering issue has been going on for sometime. It is about time that the ICC look further into this matter and has stricter rules. Cricket is considered a boring game in many circles, and it is people like Waqar who brought in a lot of interest. I don't know about other people, but I consider Reid to be biased against the Pakistanis this time. The two umpires, who were on the international panel, saw the ball and told Reid they found "nothing wrong" with it. Reid, however, went ahead and penalised Waqar on his own!
Jahan Badar, Pakistan

I am happy to see that some moves have been made to stop ball tampering. Cricket is a gentleman's game. The ICC has neglected to keep the game healthy. I welcome the ICC decision to suspend players for their wrong doings. I fully agree with Reid in suspending Waqar, although he is not known for his fairness.
Sun, USA

Why are the cricket board always going against Pakistan. They always find something wrong with Pakistan so why don't they just ban Pakistan for a year. The bowlers keep messing around. First Akthar , then Akram and now Younis. When will they stop?
Daljit Singh, England

In my opinion kicking Waqar out of a cricket match would not help solve the problem, but if he did tamper with the ball, he should be penalised for one entire session of cricket, and pay 50% of match fees as a fine. Waqar is still considered the most efficient bowler of Pakistan in the entire world of cricket. I have seen lots of cricket matches being played throughout my lifetime, and most of bowlers clean the dirt or wet sports off the ball and now that's considered tampering with the ball. Banning Waqar for his entire life out of Pakistani cricket team will never ever help solve the problem.
Noreensahar, USA



Anyone who has actually played cricket would agree it is difficult to manipulate the state of the ball with bare hands to a degree that the ball would perform magical stuff later.
  Ninad, USA
Anyone who has actually played cricket would agree it is difficult to manipulate the state of the ball with bare hands to a degree that the ball would perform magical stuff later. Video proof of the ball actually being tampered with in the form of camera recordings and photographs is as illusive as the UFO clippings we see on television. The ball under question should be confiscated immediately and the three umpires should converge on an on-the-spot decision whether there was evidence of tampering or not, just like they would on a controversial run-out decision. If found guilty the bowler should be suspended from the match with immediate effect, and the team be made to continue without the player or a substitute (on similar terms as a soccer player getting red-carded out of a game).
Ninad, USA

I have just read the laws regarding ball tampering. The law with Mr Reid used was to uplift the seam. This was not implemented properly. The rules clearly state that if the ball is tampered with, the umpire should fist give warning to the Captain, the bowler and the other umpire, and change the ball. This was not done, as the umpires on the ground never found the ball to be changed, even though they were clearly instructed to check the ball after the alleged incident. I believe one cannot lift the seam of the ball, when it is hard by his bare hands in a matter of minutes. I also believe that John Ried is completely biased against Pakistan.
Shehzad Nabi, London, UK

I've got no problem with ball tampering. Yes, it gives the bowler an advantage in terms of the reverse swing. But everybody who wants to watch cricket wants to be excited by what they see. Waqar is and has been a fantastic fast bowler for his country for many years, and I believe it is pure hypocrisy that he is being punished for something that adds something extra to a game that is constantly criticised for being boring.
N Stewart, Australia

Penalty for ball tampering should be effective enough to rule out such incidents in the future. However, I disagree that we should put a life ban on a bowler over a single incident. Ball tampering is a big issue but not big enough to throw someone out of the game forever. The ICC should punish the player heavily in terms of match fee and participation only after we have a system put in place.
Muhammad Salman, USA



If a player is indeed found guilty of tampering with the ball surely a one-match-ban is not enough
  Amer Rahman, Pakistan
If a player is indeed found guilty of tampering with the ball, then surely a one-match-ban is not enough. It should be something like 10 matches. However in this particular case, Waqar was not ball tampering because if he had been the umpires' would have told John Reid that the condition of the ball has been altered. This was not the case, which suggests that Waqar really was cleaning off mud or something like that. Mr John Reid strikes again.
Amer Rahman, Pakistan

I think that such bowlers should not be spared. They should be banned for not just a match but forever. No doubt Waqar is a world class bowler but the player who has not got a sportsman's spirit should be thrown out of international cricket.
Bilal Altaf, Pakistan

I agree with Mr Bilal Bhutta. The ICC should have a system in place first so that every bowler will know what the consequences will be and then they can penalise players. Fines should be in the form of a match fee or season long suspension not a lifetime suspension.
Muhammad Salman, USA

I think the main point in this case, is that the match umpire has not taken into account the verdicts of the two umpires on the field. They are the officials in the best position to decide if the ball has been changed in any way. They saw no reason to believe there was any ball tampering going on. If they had, then yes by all means dish out a ban, but then all countries should come under the same inspection. I think - yet again - this is evidence that some cricket playing countries are treated differently to others.
Asad Malik, Germany



Punish the whole team by taking away ranking points from tournaments, then the players who cheat will be more afraid to do so
  Andrew, England
I think that ball tampering is a serious offence and it should not be taken lightly. The players nowadays should pay more attention to the spirit of the game rather than cheating to win. We never heard of these incidents during Sir Donald Bradman's era. I think that the players of today should do what it takes to keep the spirit of the game intact.
Derek Halstead, India

If tampering with the seam is worse than rubbing one side of the ball to get extra shine, then we should apply bans retrospectively. We have the video archives to prove it. A one-match ban is not enough. The best way, would be to punish the whole team by taking away ranking points from tournaments, then the players who cheat will be more afraid to do so for fear of the consequences for the team.
Andrew, England

One match ban for top players and a 50% fine of the match fees is inadequate. If an example has to be set then a longer ban should be considered. The quicker the ICC starts to hand out longer bans, the better for the game.
A.Sattee, London

I think if ball tampering is proved, then a one-match suspension is a bit lenient. If not, then the umpire should be questioned on what basis has he given the verdict.
Imran, Singapore



A life ban is the only solution to solve the ball tampering issue
  Narasimhan Rangaswamy, India
The ICC has not banned players who applied Vaseline on the ball; it didn't ban players when they made a joke of the game by bowling under-arm. Let's make ball tampering legal and make the game more interesting for the bowlers.
krishna, India

I can't understand the logic of a one-match suspension. When found guilty the concerned person must be banned from Cricket due to the serious nature of the offence. A life ban is the only solution to solve the ball tampering issue.
Narasimhan Rangaswamy, India

Why is it that we assume that Waqar was tampering with the ball and not cleaning the seam of dirt and other foreign material? Why don't we also mention the fact that the match referee had immediately asked the umpires on the field about the condition of the ball, and they reported that there was nothing out of the ordinary? Why did the match referee not confiscate the ball and keep it as evidence? I saw the video (zoomed view), and to me it makes a compelling case of seam cleaning. This is no different than wiping the ball if it is wet or applying your sweat or spit to shine it. The match referee in question has a well-publicised bias against Pakistan and should not have been allowed to supervise these matches.
Bilal Bhutta, USA



Bowlers should be given a free rein to do whatever they can with their hands as long as they do not employ an object
  Tariq Latif, UK
The punishment is definitely not enough. The man tampers with the ball, which he knows is cheating. Since when was cheating taken so lightly? This is not prison cricket. This is a gentleman's game. I think strong messages should be sent that cheating, betting, match fixing and the likes are not tolerated.
Nash Dwaj, India

I saw the match in question and could see Klusener clearly scratching the ball, whilst arguing with Pakistani batsmen during his first three overs. Why hasn't he been banned as well?
Sag, UK

Players know very well they are not supposed to be ball tampering in a gentleman's game. Anyone involved should be banned for life. Does the ICC have the courage to do that though?
Madhav , USA

Over the past two decades, most changes that have been made are in favour of batsmen - restriction on bouncers, lowering the seam on the ball to name a few. I think bowlers should be given a free rein to do whatever they can with their hands as long as they do not employ an object.
Tariq Latif, UK

If a tougher action is to be taken it should be equal for all the nations. It should not be used against Pakistan or other sub-continent nations as we have seen in the past. Whenever a ban is imposed it is against Pakistani players such as Shoaib, Azhar, Moin and now Waqar.
Engr. Fayyaz Ahmed, Pakistan

How is it when a Pakistani bowler reverse swings it, it is automatically assumed that it is done by cheating.



This is disrepute and he should not be allowed to play the game again
  Hassan Hussain, Oman
Why is it when a bowler such as Darren Gough is reverse swinging, it's good bowling. Waqar actually showed Darren Gough how to reverse swing a couple of year's ago. So if Waqar is cheating every time he is bowling then how is Gough maintaining the ability to swing the ball through legal means? As usual its one rule for the English or Aussies and another for the Asian cricketer.
Amer Malik, England

It was disgusting to see a great bowler like Waqar plunging to these tactics. He should be banned for at least two tournaments so no one dares to follow his lead and employ unfair tactics.
Joy Wanton , UK



what is the difference between picking the seam and shining the ball to get swing. Why is one normal and one illegal?


  Andy Evans, Ireland
This happens at all levels and it needs to be stopped. A one-match ban is a joke. Nothing will be gained from it. If it continues to happen then the team must be penalised. As soon as this happens it will be wiped out. Hit the players where it hurts in the pocket. Big fines for players and teams will make sure that only the skill of the bowlers is used to get batsmen out.
Jeff Cowls, England

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