What is Ball Tampering in Cricket? Purpose, Penalty Runs, Example

Ball tampering is a term that leads to penalty runs in cricket. There are many conditions that become the reason for penalty runs. However, this concise post is a complete guide for you if you are in search of ball tampering in cricket.

Anyhow, it is going to cover your concepts about what ball tampering is in cricket. What is the purpose of ball-tampering? Penalty runs for ball tampering, as well as examples of ball tampering in the match. 

What is Ball-Tampering in Cricket?

Ball tampering is the action of the fielder when he illegally attempts to alter or change the condition of the ball in the sport of cricket. Ball-tampering is a way to support the movement of the ball and it enhances the bowling tragedy of the ball by producing enough swing. 

According to cricket law, the cricket ball may be polished without any artificial substances. Only two things can a bowler do to polish the ball, which are the following:

  • When the ball is wet, the bowler can dry it with the help of towel.
  • If the ball is dirty or mud is present on the surface of the ball, he can remove it. 

Otherwise, the bowler’s attention to polishing the ball is an illegal way or action. 

Bowler Ways For Ball Tampering 

Bowlers use many illegal methods for ball tampering. Usually, the following are some ways that bowlers use to change the conditions of the cricket ball. 

  • Rubbing the ball on the cricket ground
  • Scuffing the cricket ball with the help of fingernails.
  • Use of sharp object for alternating the ball
  • Bottle caps 
  • Cutting surfaces
  • Boot spikes

What is the Purpose of Ball-Tampering?

Usually, the bowler alters the ball to use his bowling techniques in an illegal way. It’s main purpose is to get compatible bowling conditions. Moreover, ball-tampering encourages the swinging movement in the cricket ball.  

Penalty Runs For Ball-Tampering

When any of the fielders alter the condition of the ball in an illegal way, five penalty runs go to the batting team. 

Legal Way of Ball Changing

A player can alter the condition of the ball by using spit and sweat. It is a legal way to polish the ball. But it was restricted at the time of covid-19 pandemic in cricket. The bowler can add moisture to the ball with sweat. In this way, one side of the ball becomes shiny and the air flow over it becomes smoother, making delivery more efficient. 

If you watched the match earlier, you noticed that the bowler usually rubbed the ball with his paint or clothing. You know why they rub the ball? If your answers are not, let’s keep a quick eye on reason. Actually, bowlers rub the ball to dry or polish it.

Authentication of Ball-Tampering

One of the more important duties of the umpire is to monitor the cricket ball. He must check it regularly. If he notices or finds the player is ball tampering five penalty runs are awarded to the batting team.

Moreover, if the captain of the opposing team wants to change the ball, it will be immediately replaced. 

Additionally, the important point is that the umpire will choose the ball. Interestingly, if the bowler continuously attempts to alter the ball, he is prohibited from bowling in that inning. Basically, it is a serious offence. 

An Example of Ball-Tampering Event

For your better understanding, I am going to provide an example for you from the past history of the sport of cricket. 

In the third ODI match in November 2019 against Afghanistan, the player, Nicholas Pooran, was found guilty of ball-tampering. He admitted the charge. However, he was banned for four T20I matches. 


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