New Delhi: South Africa’s massive and consecutive victory against plagued Australia on Sunday at Newlands in the third Test that granted the hosts an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series was completely overshadowed by the reprobate act of ‘ball-tampering’. Players in crime Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith admitted the act revealing it to be a lunch-time discussion prior to the execution before ICC announced their punishment and charges. But was it the first time that the Aussies have been caught doing ‘unfair’ means to gain an advantage in the game? No. Indian cricket fans would surely remember the DRS controversy that marred the Border-Gavaskar series in February 2017. And former Indian cricketer L Sivaramakrishnan reckons that Virat Kohli was smart enough to comprehend Smith’s game-plan.
Reacting to the entire ‘ball-tampering’ episode that shell-shocked cricket fraternity to its core, the former India leggie said, “Virat was smart on the field and he saw what Steve was doing during the Test series. Today, his accusation is proven right.”
“Now that Smith is caught, it proves to show that he may have done something in the past as well in India, if not ball tampering,” Sivaramakrishnan said.
What had happened then?
In reply to India’s paltry total of 188 runs, Australia were comfortably easing towards the mark, standing 74 for three in the Bengaluru Test match last year and just them Smith was baffled by a length delivery from Umesh Yadav that struck his pad in line with the stumps. Umpire agreed to the appeal and Smith was given out, but the skipper was indecisive of taking a DRS review and in a bid took a glance at the Aussie dressing room for some assistance. Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara had both spotted and so did the umpire. Later it was revealed that Smith had got away with the act twice during the series.
ICC now has a red-card facility which the umpires can use to send off the player for the remainder of the match, but the rule is only when the player threatens to assault the on-field umpire or engages in deliberate physical contact with the match official or any of the opponent players.
“It should be used for immediate suspension of a player who would be involved in illegal activities like ball tampering. Saving the spirit of the game is of prime importance and that is why Australia should play the ongoing Test with nine players. The situation demands that,”