West Indies vs Sri Lanka: Another Ball Tampering Controversy
Earlier this year the cricketing world was shocked by the blatant ball tampering conducted by Cameron Bancroft and David Warner, under the watch of skipper Steve Smith. It captured the attention of the entire sporting community, with videos of Smith and Warner crying at their respective press conferences being widely circulated on all news channels. After such backlash, one would suspect that teams would refrain from any ball tampering whatsoever. However, that does not seem to be the case as one again this issue returned to the forefront of the cricketing world in the ongoing Test match between the West Indies and Sri Lanka.
There is a difference this time. Unlike Smith’s bold move to openly admit to cheating in a press conference, the Sri Lankan players are adamant that they have done nothing wrong. The umpires, after the close of play on the second day, reviewed some footage and claimed that Sri Lankan fielders had applied some sort of substance to the ball. This led to the umpires changing the ball, with the batsmen Shai Hope and Devon Smith being able to choose the new ball under law 41.3.4. In addition to this, the West Indies were awarded five penalty runs.
This news broke before the start of play on the third day and what followed was remarkable. The Sri Lankan players refused to take to the pitch out of disgust for the umpires’ decision. It took two hours for the players to return to the field.
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The Sri Lankan Cricket Board have released a statement defending their players wholeheartedly. Here are some quotes from their release:
“SLC advised the team to take the field to ensure the continuity of the match and wish to commend the decision taken by the team to continue with the game ‘under protest’ to ensure the upholding of the spirit of the game.”
“The team management has informed us that Sri Lankan players have not engaged in any wrongdoing.”
“SLC shall take all necessary steps to defend any player, in the event any unwarranted allegation is brought against a member of the team.”
Sri Lanka will no doubt be frustrated that this shocking news has come in the midst of a very tough series for them. They were crushed in the first Test match are certainly on the back foot in this second Test. In context of the Al Jazeera investigations, the reputation of Sri Lankan cricket has seriously come under scrutiny.
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