QUES – What is ball-tampering, its laws and punishment?

Cricket is not only controlled by a set of rules but as per the sport’s laws, it should also be played ‘within the spirit of cricket’. Like every other sport, cricket is a self-regulating entity. The national associations and, ultimately, the International Cricket Council (ICC) enforce the laws. That said, cricket remains tied to gentlemanly ideals and the myth of “fair play.”

Within these laws, there is law 41.3 which identifies changing the condition of the match ball as an offence and unfair play. The law 41.3.2 states: “It is an offence for any player to take any action which changes the condition of the ball.”

QUES – Why is the condition of the ball important?

The ability to swing a ball is a prized skill in cricket for bowlers. By changing the condition of one side of the ball can help it to swing and may provide an advantage to the bowler. Ball tampering is done to make the ball reverse swing – an art in which the ball starts moving towards the shiny side.

QUES – What is the punishment for ball-tampering?

If a player is caught with tampering the ball, the umpire can impose a five-run penalty against the bowling side and replace the ball. The accused player may later be fined 50 percent to 100 percent of their match fee and can be slapped with three or four demerit points. With four demerit points come one Test ban.