Rubbing it the wrong way - the most famous ball tampering incidents in cricket


“We are not a team that scratches the ball” - AB de Villiers

The South African star vehemently protested the allegations of ball tampering against South Africa during Pakistan’s second innings on the third day during the 2nd Test in Dubai.

However, the footage of his team mate and the man in question, Faf du Plessis shining the ball on the chain of his flannel and subsequently pleading guilty to the wrongdoings has left AB red faced and in a spot of embarrassment.

Du Plessis isn’t the first one who has been caught in the act. Ball tampering isn’t a new thing in the world of cricket and has been one of those unresolved issues that has come back to haunt the game since the 1970s.

Let’s take a look at a few incidents of ball tampering that created quite a furore in the cricket world:

 John Kenneth Lever in 1976 – Shine it with Vaseline

John Kenneth Lever

John Kenneth Lever – first man accused of ball tampering

The famous “Vaseline” controversy. In 1976-77, John Lever, the English left-arm pacer ripped apart the Indian batting line up by picking up 7 wickets on his debut Test match. He swung the ball in to the right handed batsmen and created quite a few problems for the Indians.

However, the then Indian captain, Bishan Singh Bedi accused John Lever of “doctoring” the cricket ball to induce more swing. He alleged Lever of applying Vaseline to keep the shine on the cricket ball for a longer time.

Although Bedi’s accusations were rejected due to lack of evidence, but this went down into cricket history for being the first reported “ball tampering” incident.

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