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Ball Tampering and 5 Previous Instances

The latest ball-tampering controversy surrounding Cameron Bancroft has done a great disservice to the game. The fact that Captain Steve Smith and the senior players (referred to as the 'leadership group') were also involved in the process makes matters worse.

Smith and Bancroft conceded to the charges in the press conference held at the end of the 3rd day of the Test.

As per latest news, the ICC has banned Steve Smith for one Test and fined 100% of his match fees whereas young Cameron Bancroft has been fined 75% of his match fee without being slapped a ban. This came after Steve Smith and David Warner stepped down as Captain and vice-captain respectively for the remainder of the 3rd Test and the entire 4th Test following sustained pressure from the Australian government and Cricket Australia.

For decades, the Aussie style of playing cricket – hard but fair – was touted as the ideal way but the recent debacle has certainly marred that image. The fact that a young cricketer was thrust into such a malicious environment and entrusted with the responsibility to change the state of the ball sets the wrong example for budding cricketers and fans across the globe.

However, no matter how unfortunate it may sound, such cases of ball tampering are not new to international cricket. There have been several similar events in the past which have maligned the image of the Gentleman's Game.

Here are five previous instances of ball tampering which left the cricketing world in a state of shock:

#1 Michael Atherton

In 1994, young England skipper Michael Atherton was spotted rubbing dirt on the ball in a match against South Africa at Lord's. Atherton picked up dirt from the pitch and put it into his pocket, giving the impression that he would use it to keep his hands less sweaty.

The English opener was nevertheless charged with ball tampering. While he managed to hold on to the captaincy and avoid suspension, he was fined $3,700.

This unfortunate incident has been recorded in the history books in black ink and is unearthed every time any ball tampering incident sees the light of day.

 #2 Inzamam-ul-Haq

It was the fourth match of the Test series between England and Pakistan played at the Oval in 2006. On the fourth day of the match, umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove accused Pakistani Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq of ball tampering.

In an unfortunate follow-up to that verdict, Inzamam told his players not to take the filed after Tea. When the Pakistani players stayed in the dressing room for 17 minutes, Hair and Doctrove called the match off and awarded England the win via forfeit. However, Inzamam was later acquitted of the charges by ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle.

 #3 Shahid Afridi

It was a close ODI encounter between Australia and Pakistan in 2010 when another Pakistani Captain was charged with ball tampering. In a low scoring affair played at Perth Australia found themselves at 178-7, needing 35 runs off the last 30 balls.

Shahid Afridi was clearly seen biting and chewing the seam twice in the overs of Mohammad Asif and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan. He was found guilty and banned from two Twenty20 internationals. This tarnished his image and proved to be the lowest point in his long cricketing career.

#4 Faf du Plessis

After being proven guilty of rubbing the ball on the zipper of his pants pocket and fined 50 percent of his match fee at Dubai in 2013, Faf du Plessis was charged with ball tampering three years later.

In 2016, the Protea Captain was accused of using mint saliva to alter the condition of the ball. South Africa had just clinched a resounding Test victory over Australia in their own den at Hobart when the footage of du Plessis emerged. As a result, the skipper was handed three demerit points as per the ICC Code of Conduct.

#5 Sachin Tendulkar

It was the second Test between India and South Africa at Port Elizabeth in 2001 when legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar was handed a one-match ban by match referee Mike Denness. Tendulkar was accused of tampering with the seam of the ball. It created a lot of furore from the Indian fans and the then BCCI  President Jagmohan Dalmiya.

In the same match, five other Indian players including spinner Harbhajan Singh and Captain Sourav Ganguly were also fined 75% of their match fees for indecent conduct. However, charges against Tendulkar were later repealed after sustained pressure.