Saturday 15 December 2018

Everything you need to know about the ball tampering scandal that has plunged cricket into controversy

A shadow has been cast over Australia captain Steve Smith, the world’s best batsman. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A shadow has been cast over Australia captain Steve Smith, the world’s best batsman. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Max Ryan

Australia cricket captain Steve Smith has been fined 100% of his match fee for his role in a ball tampering scandal which saw teammate Cameron Bancroft tamper with the condition of the ball during a test match against South Africa.

Smith has also been suspended for the remainder of the match and Bancroft has been made to forfeit 75% of his match fee.

Television cameras captured Bancroft removing a strip of yellow tape from his trouser pocket on several occasions and using it to apply adhesive to the surface of the ball, a serious offence in cricket.

The incriminating footage was broadcast live on the stadium’s big screen and there was nowhere to hide for the 25-year-old as he attempted to conceal the tape down the front of his trousers.

Cricketers are permitted to apply saliva to one side of the ball in order to create a smoother surface which helps it swing in the air when delivered by pace bowlers.

To accelerate this process artificially or to bring on the deterioration of the ball constitutes a breach of law 41, which covers fair play.

As it later transpired, Bancroft’s attempts to enhance the ball’s aerodynamics were unsuccessful as the on-field umpires inspected it and deemed it suitable for continued use.

It was later confirmed in a press conference by both players that Bancroft acted under the instruction of Smith and other senior team members.

The assembled press looked on as the pair owned up to their actions and confirmed the charges brought against them with Smith insisting that 'it won’t happen again under my leadership'.

Their remorse may well be in vain as Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland confirmed in an interview that a further investigation will take place in order to decide upon further sanctions.

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