Ball-tampering on MCC agenda

TMG Digital


TELFORD VICE, Cape Town

THE process of changing cricket’s regulations on ball-tampering could move forward at a meeting of the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) world cricket committee in Mumbai on Tuesday and Wednesday.

According to a MCC release the agenda’s main items include, “the size of cricket bats, penalties for poor player behaviour, the laws of cricket re-draft, cricket in the Olympics and the structure of the international game”.

Would ball-tampering, which dominated headlines on South Africa’s tour to Australia after Faf du Plessis was spotted using a mint to help polish the ball, be up for discussion?

The practice would seem to fall under “player behaviour”, and as the MCC – the custodians of cricket’s laws – are due to deliver a revised set of the game’s regulations in time for them to be implemented on October 1 next year the time is ripe.

“The issue of player behaviour is all encompassing, and so is the laws of cricket re-write,” Neil Priscott, the committee’s head of media and communications, told TMG Digital via email.

“A key point to remember is that the laws must be written for the entire game, professional and amateur, so our thinking must be geared accordingly.

“All of the above is very much on MCC’s agenda, and although the issue of ball-tampering is being discussed this week I can’t at this stage confirm if the world cricket committee will make a statement on this.”

Du Plessis pled not guilty to the charge, which was laid by International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson after the second test in Hobart last month.

Match referee Andy Pycroft found Du Plessis guilty, fined him 100% of his match fee and docked him three demerit points – one short of what would have meant a ban.

Du Plessis, who has said he will appeal, insisted he was guilty of ball-shining rather than ball-tampering, which he decried.

Australian captain Steve Smith offered Du Plessis support, saying “We along with every other team around the world shine the ball the same way.”

Using sugar soaked saliva to help preserve the ball’s shine is illegal in terms of the current regulations but widespread nonetheless.

South Africa’s Vince van der Bijl, a former fast bowler and ICC umpires’ and referees’ manager, sits on the MCC committee, which is independent and chaired by former England captain Mike Brearley.

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