Ball tampering is not something International Cricket Council (ICC) let go off easily, especially when it’s done by a senior player. England’s frontline seamer James Anderson came under the scanner when he scratched the ball with his index finger to get the ball to reverse swing early.
In a video posted by cricket.com.au, Anderson can be clearly seen scratching the ball to get rid of it’s shine, which is a major requirement to reverse swing the ball. In layman’s language, reverse swing is possible when the ball is rubbed from one side in order to negate its shine which later leads to ball swinging towards the shiny part irrespective of the bowler’s effort to swing it the other way.
The English bowlers were not getting enough help from the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) pitch so they decided to get the ball reverse swing early as a new ball tends to swing sharp than the old ball. While Stuart Broad scratched the ball with a coin showing the Umpire, Anderson did not which has raised eyebrows.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) December 29, 2017
Australia’s legendary spinner Shane Warne criticised Anderson for scratching the ball. On Nine’s Wide World of Sports broadcast, he said,
I’m not sure you are allowed to use your fingernail there. If you are going to touch the ball at all, it’s not just shining it, you want to do it right in front of the umpire so they know there is nothing untoward going on. But I’m not sure that Jimmy Anderson … this might get some people talking.
Former Australian opener and co-commentator Michael Slater agreed with Warne too, he said,
You can’t get your nail into the ball. That’s a no-no.
Former Australian batsman Michael Hussey aka Mr. Cricket had his say on the matters too.
It didn’t look great, to be honest. There might be a little bit of a ‘please explain’ there for Jimmy Anderson. I know there’s a lot of tactics, but there’s a bit of a line there that you shouldn’t cross in picking the seam of the ball and things like that.
Hussey raised another issue, saying,
The English have been throwing the ball into the ground to try and scuff one side up, but that’s nothing the Aussies weren’t doing either and the umpires are generally on top of that pretty quickly. But certainly getting a thumb nail into the ball is against the rules. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens and if anything plays out there.
Former Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson too joined the debate via his Twitter handle. He tweeted –
Ball reversing under 10 overs #ashes
— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) December 29, 2017
Johnson answered to a fan’s argument as well who said that Australians have been scuffing up the ball by throwing it into the turf. The 35-year-old said,
No problem with the ball being thrown at the stumps by both teams as long as that’s all it is! Wouldn’t have thought the ball could reverse so quickly. Are you saying it’s okay to tamper with the ball? I can tell you buddy, I never tampered with the ball no matter what the situation.
Australia’s women cricket team’s wicketkeeper seemed to agree with Johnson too as she tweeted:
Might be a few fines handed out tomorrow evening
— Alyssa Healy (@ahealy77) December 29, 2017
With the fourth Test heading towards a draw because of the rain, Anderson might face a few charges from the International Cricket Council (ICC).