Ball-tampering will continue, believes Morrison

Former New Zealand pacer Danny Morrison, who was a part of the squad that tampered with the ball in Faisalabad in 1990, feels the punishment meted out to Bancroft, Warner and Smith is justified.

Danny Morrison feels Cameron Bancroft (left) was made the medium as he was a young player, still not popular with the video cameras.   -  AFP

 

Tampering with the ball is nothing new. And as former New Zealand fast bowler Danny Morrison puts it, “When the pitches are like table tops, the pacemen will seek to swing and reverse the ball with speed, and teams will seek to get the most out of the ball.”

And he said to Sportstar here on Friday that the New Zealand team, pushed to the wall, altered the condition of the ball using a bottle top during its tour of Pakistan in 1990.

Morrison remembered, “We went berserk in 1990 at Faisalabad. There were no neutral umpires, only hometown umpires and no match referee.”

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The 52-year-old former Kiwi pace spearhead with 160 Test scalps continued, “We got a bottle top during practice and Martin Crowe was like a kid in a candy shop. Martin used to bowl inswingers only. When we scratched the ball up, he could bowl booming outswingers. He was very excited.”

Morrison said, “Then, we tried it in the Test. Chris Pringle got a seven-for, I got some wickets too. It was probably like the Aussies today but on a different scale. We were angry that the Pakistanis were doing it. We were naughty too in retaliation.”

Shifting his thoughts to the Aussie trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, he noted, “Frustratingly for the Aussies, they got sucked in. Everyone subtly does it in a different way. And South Africa was just a little more sharper about it, more subtle about it.”

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Morrison continued, “Everyone knows it, a lot do it. Scratching it with thumbnails, a little bit of dirt on it sometimes, Faf du Plessis and the lozenges, they said the English were doing it in the Ashes series in 2005 with the lozenges.”

He added, “Speaking with the umpires too, on the surface, they know that players get up to different means of getting the ball to age faster.”

Morrison agreed with the punishments meted out to the Aussie trio — “A strong message had to be sent” — but said the bowlers would have been aware too.

He explained, “The ball is your weapon. That is your piece of arsenal. Yeah, the bowlers will have to know, whose job it is to maintain it, there are specialists at getting it roughed up.”

Morrison pointed out, “The whole thing about getting to Bancroft through Warner to ‘look after the ball’ was that because the cameras will not be on him so much because he was a young, new guy, the cameras would be on the senior guys.”

Tampering with the ball will continue, believed Morrison. “Like in any walk of life, there are people always willing to take short cuts.”