From Lollygate to Ovalgate: Faf’s not the only tamperer


Chris Pringle: New Zealand v Pakistan, Faisalabad, 1990

Arguably the first self-confessed ball tamperer, Pringle took a career-best 11/152 in only his third Test at Faisalabad. The big Kiwi, in supposed retaliation to the Pakistanis’ ability to reverse-swing the ball, started experimenting in the nets with roughing up one side of an old ball with bottle tops. He said in his autobiography: “There was something going on. And whether what I did was the right or wrong way to make the ball look as it did in the next Test, I had to try it.”

Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis: Pakistan v England, 1992

Acrimony between England and Pakistan is well-documented for a variety of reasons, but instead of match-fixing, cricket’s ugly stepchild during the 1990s was ball tampering. It routinely circled the Pakistan team, mainly due to the impressive reverse-swing maestros Younis and Akram were able to generate during their pomp.

Along with Aqib Javed, the duo mesmerised the English on that tour and bowled their team to a series win. “I don’t care what anyone thinks... the new ball swung more anyway. Every time we win, people start saying these things. We won fair and square,” Wasim said during the tour.

Mike Atherton: England v South Africa, Lord’s, 1994

The shoe was on the other foot, though, two years later when Atherton was caught on television putting dirt from the pitch on the ball. Although he was not breaking the rules, and was let off by match referee Peter Burge, he was still fined £2 000 by the Test and County Cricket Board, as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was known at that time.

Waqar Younis: Pakistan v South Africa, Singer Cup, 2000

After all the allegations against the Pakistanis over the years, the ICC finally took a tough stance when Waqar became the first bowler to be banned for ball tampering. He received a one-match ODI ban and 50% of his match fee after being named Man of the Match and Man of the Series. Azhar Mahmood was also fined 30% of his match fees.

Sachin Tendulkar: South Africa v India, Port Elizabeth, 2001

In arguably the most high-profile case, absolute chaos erupted when match referee Mike Denness issued Tendulkar with a suspended one-game ban for allegedly tampering with the ball after cameras picked up images of him cleaning the seam of the ball.

Denness’ ruling was on the back of penalising Virender Sehwag, SS Das, Harbhajan Singh, Deep Dasgupta and Sourav Ganguly, along with Tendulkar, at the end of the fourth day of the second Test.

The Indians were incensed and threatened to boycott the final Test if Denness was not removed from his position.

Both the BCCI and CSA agreed to replace Denness with former South African wicketkeeper Denis Lindsay in order for the “Test” to forge ahead.

The ICC reacted by revoking the status of the Test because “no cricket board has the authority to remove Denness from his position as match referee” ICC president Malcolm Speed said.

“The ICC cannot accede to demands for his removal. To remove him under this kind of pressure would be to disregard the rules agreed by all member countries and set an unacceptable precedent.”

Rahul Dravid: India v Zimbabwe, Brisbane, 2004

The first “Lollygate” - or in this case a cough lozenge - offender was Dravid when match referee Clive Lloyd stated that footage showed him intentionally applying the sweet to the ball during the Zimbabwean innings at the Gabba. He was fined 50% of his match fee.

Pakistan team: v England, The Oval, 2006

Controversy just follows an England and Pakistan series and “Ovalgate” ranks right on top of the list.

After Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove ordered England be awarded five penalty runs and decided that they choose a new ball due to the Pakistanis being involved in ball tampering, the visitors were so incensed by the accusations that they refused to take the field after the tea break.

The umpires called the match off and awarded the win to England due to Pakistan “forfeiting”. The Pakistanis did come back on the field 55 minutes after their refusal, but the umpires stood firm.

Shahid Afridi: Pakistan vAustralia, Perth, 2010

In the most bizarre case, Afridi was banned for two T20 internationals after cameras showed him biting the ball.

Faf du Plessis, Pakistan v South Africa, Dubai, 2013

Du Plessis has fallen foul before when he was fined 50% of his match fee when visuals showed him rubbing the ball near the zipper of his trouser pocket.

The South Africans initially denied the charge, with AB de Villiers saying “we’re not cheats”, but Du Plessis pleaded guilty to the charge because of fear over a strong punishment.

Vernon Philander, Sri Lanka v South Africa, Galle, 2014

The Proteas were in hot water again nine months later when Philander was fined 75% of his match fee for “scratching the ball with his fingers and thumb”.

His actions were picked up by on-field umpires Billy Bowden and Richard Kettleborough as well as third umpire Nigel Llong.

Weekend Argus

In light of Proteas captain Faf du Plessis’ “Lollygate” saga, Zaahier Adams reflects on other high-profile incidents over the years...

Original source: From Lollygate to Ovalgate: Faf’s not the only tamperer