Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli have come into the receiving end of serious allegations of ball tampering in the last one week. Blame it on the media reports, but the plethora of questions the cricketers have had to face over this, does indeed look a bit embarrassing.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) did fine Du Plessis 100% of the match fee for his 'mintgate' incident during the second test match between Australia and South Africa at the Bellerive Oval. Interestingly, following this revelation, renowned British publication Daily Mail came out with a report mentioning India test cricket team skipper Kohli getting involved in match fixing during the India vs England Rajkot test.
The British daily brought out zoomed in pictures of Kohli shining the ball with the help of a chewing gum and mentioned the following:
"The pictures that emerged from Rajkot show Kohli rubbing his fingers in his mouth, a regular habit of his, while sucking on a mint, which could be a tic-tac. He then appears to shine one side of the ball.
"That seemed to be identical to what Du Plessis was doing on the fourth day of the second Test in Tasmania that South Africa won to take a 2-0 lead in the series when he fell foul of the law by repeatedly sucking a mint and then licking his finger before rubbing the ball."
So far, the ICC has not yet commented on the issue, as the rule book states that a player cannot be charged for any offence once five days have elapsed. Here is what the rule book states:
ICC's rule 18.104.22.168 states that, "a Level 1 Offence or a Level 2 Offence that is alleged to have been committed at any time or place (whether on the field of play or otherwise), then the report must be lodged with the match referee (or, where, for logistical reasons, it is impractical to lodge with the match referee, the ICC's cricket operations department) within five (5) days of the commission of the alleged offence."
From sunscreen, lip ice and residue from sweets, the ways to tamper a ball are various. Let us look at some infamous incidents of ball tampering over the decades:
When: England vs South Africa Test match at Lord's in 1994
What he did: Used dirt from his pocket and rubbed the ball.
Total fine: $A4,750 (£2,000).
When: India vs Zimbabwe ODI in Brisbane, 2004.
What he did: Possibly rubbed fragments of a lolly on the ball to make it more shiny.
Total fine: 75% of match fee.
Shahid Afridi: This one is almost a different level of ball tampering!
When: Pakistan vs Australia in Perth, 2010.
What he did: Bit the cricket ball.
Penalty: two-match suspension.
Sachin Tendulkar: Shocking? Well, we definitely can't blame you. The Master Blaster may have denied any such tampering with the ball, over the years, but this one-off incident did bring about some bad light to the rather legendary career of Tendulkar.
When: India vs South Africa Test match at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, in 2001.
What he did: Ran his fingernails through the seam of the ball.
Penalty: one-match ban.