With the modern game so favouring batters, is it time ball tampering was allowed to redress the balance argues former Irish international Simon Corlett.
I was reading Deryck Vincent's latest article , and it has prompted me to raise a subject I find a bit of an anomoly, and it is the subject of "Ball tampering ".
I was trying to remember when this first started , and I think I'm right in saying it was when Wasim Akram first started getting loads of wickets with what came to be known as "Reverse swing ".
He was so successful that someone obviously decided something had to be " done about it", and they were accused of tampering with the ball in such a way as to have an unfair advantage . There was almost an implication that they were cheating.
Once all the other teams started to try and copy them , players were rubbing the ball in the dirt on one side , and this was very quickly pounced on and became illegal. The rest is history .
My question is this . If rubbing the ball on one side is deemed illegal, why are players still allowed to polish one side of the ball? The only reason this is done is to enable to ball to swing.
Which is precisely why Wasim scuffed the other side, in effect doing the opposite of polishing. So why allow one method , but not another?
It has always been an anachronism to me as, having played at a time before all the fuss about tampering, it was standard practice in first-class cricket for bowlers to pick the seam - I remember being shown by county cricketers when I was at Oxford - as it helped seam bowlers to cut the ball , and it enabled spinners to spin the ball. It was normal practice , and all part of the art of bowling.
Simon Corlett bowling
With the advent of today's "Quick Cricket " - T20 and 100 , there is no art in bowling , it has become a batsman's game, and bowlers are mere cannon fodder.
It may be exciting to watch balls disappearing to all parts , but on the whole, the vast majority of wickets are the result of batsmen getting themselves out rather than bowlers taking their wicket.
There is a skill in a bowler setting a batsman up before getting him out. Why is it that no-one ever questions the advantages gained by modern bats, allowing batsmen to achieve scores which exceed their real capabilities with no penalty?
Maybe this is what modern players want , but if you dare to watch the current performances of England's batsmen in Australia , it is glaringly obvious their defensive technique is inferior to those of the past. It is no wonder the Aussie bowlers are queuing up to get the ball when you watch the England openers wielding their bats like swashbuckling Errol Flynn in a sword fight.
I had the privilege of being at Lords for the Ireland Test, and watching a craftsman, Tim Murtagh, plying his trade the old-fashioned way and reducing England to a motley crew. To me, that is what cricket is all about - an outdoor chess game where it's a battle of minds and techniques.