Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith are under harsh criticism after confessing about deliberate attempt to tamper the ball for additional help for the bowlers. Australian captain Steve Smith first dubbed the act as a ‘brain-fade’ moment and now has termed it a ‘big mistake’.
The 28-year-old skipper has been on the receiving end of some tough criticism by former players, commentators and fans from all around the world after the captain admitted being the mastermind.
Some of them have even asked him to step down from the captaincy. Whereas, Bancroft is also receiving censure from everyone.
Cricket Australia has stated that they will start their investigation on the issue. Smith has resigned from captaincy for the remainder of the Newlands Test, the skipper and Bancroft might not get severe punishment, but not everyone who had previously been found guilty of ball-tampering got an easy way out.
Here is a look at some incidents of cricketers caught being a little too clever on the field, with varying levels of consequences:
1. Sachin Tendulkar
During India tour of South Africa in 2001, Sachin Tendulkar was punished for ball-tampering. In the controversial tour, match referee Mike Dennes referred to a video of Sachin rubbing his fingers on the seam of the ball. While Sachin said he was just trying to remove dirt from the wet ball, the match referee did not listen to anybody and handed Sachin and five other players suspension, including Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag. After some harsh criticism from the Indian media and some allegations of racism, South African Cricket Board decided to dismiss Dennes from officiating the match. With no referee, the ICC did not grant that match an official status and Shaun Pollock’s century was never counted.
2. Waqar Younis
Waqar Younis was fined 50 per cent of the match fees and was handed a one-match ban, when Pakistan toured Sri Lanka in 2000, becoming the first player to be fined for ball-tampering.
Although the allegations were never proved, Pakistan has been ill-famed for numerous allegations of ball-tampering. The reverse swing master was found working on the ball with his fingers through the seam, followed by a ban.
3. Shoaib Akhtar
During the 2002-03 Pakistan tour of Zimbabwe, the Rawalpindi express was admonished of tampering with the ball. Allegations were later confirmed after investigation. Shoaib Akhtar has been on the wrong side in many cases, and was caught biting the seam, rubbing chewing-gum and various other things throughout his career. The paceman has faced the opposite side of Law 42.3 (The umpire shall award 5 Penalty runs to the opposing team).
4. Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis was fined 50 per cent of his match fee after he pleaded guilty of tampering the ball.
The current South African skipper rubbed the ball on the zipper of his pants pocket. The umpires awarded a five-run penalty against the Proteas. AB de Villiers insisted ‘we are not cheats’ after the match.
5. Marcus Trescothick
Ashes 2005 was famous because England broke a 19-year run of being on the losing side. Some devastating display of reverse swing by Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Steve Harmission took England to the winning rope. Marcus Trescothick later revealed in his autobiography that is was his responsibility to keep the shine on the ball “with a bit of spit and a lot of polish.”
“It had been common knowledge in county cricket for some time that certain sweets produced saliva which, when applied to the ball for cleaning purposes, enabled it to keep its shine for longer and therefore its swing,” he said. Australia did not press any charges against the England side and let it pass on.