Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal has been charged for breaching Level 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct that relates to changing the condition of the ball. On Saturday (June 16), Chandimal and his teammates refused to take the field after the umpires found them guilty of shining the ball wrongly. The match officials for the ongoing second Test between the Windies and Sri Lanka, Ian Gould and Aleem Dar, decided to change the ball and also levied a penalty of five penalty runs against the visitors, taking Windies’ first-innings total from 118 for 2 to 123 for 2 at the start of play on Day 3.
Chandimal and co. took the field after a delay but the skipper was seen involved in a long discussion with the umpires before going off the field with his players again. Match referee Javagal Srinath was spotted discussing with the Sri Lankan team management and after nearly a two-hour long delay, play resumed.
Later in the day, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) released an official statement, claiming their players were not involved in any wrongdoing, and that they protested against the charges pressed by the umpires.
The Sri Lankan players were advised by their cricket board to take the field in order to “ensure the continuity of the match”, and praised the decision taken by the team to uphold the spirit of the game.
SLC also assured the team that they “shall take all necessary steps to defend any player, in the event any unwarranted allegation is brought against a member of the team.”
The law states, “Any action(s) likely to alter the condition of the ball which were not specifically permitted under clause 41.3.2 may be regarded as ‘unfair’. The following actions shall not be permitted (this list of actions is not exhaustive but included for illustrative purposes).
It reads further as, “(a) deliberately throwing the ball into the ground for the purpose of roughening it up; (b) applying any artificial substance to the ball; and applying any non-artificial substance for any purpose other than to polish the ball; (c) lifting or otherwise interfering with any of the seams of the ball; (d) scratching the surface of the ball with finger or thumb nails or any implement.”
As per the law, “the umpires shall use their judgment to apply the principle that actions taken to maintain or enhance the condition of the ball, provided no artificial substances are used, shall be permitted. Any actions taken with the purpose of damaging the condition of the ball or accelerating the deterioration of the condition of the ball shall not be permitted.”
Earlier this year, charges of ball tampering shook the cricket world when Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were found guilty of altering the condition of the ball with the usage of sandpaper during the Newlands Test against South Africa. While ICC immediately announced a one-Test ban for skipper Smith along with a 100 per cent fine of his match fees, Cricket Australia came down harder by calling for a thorough investigation. Following the process, CA banned Smith, Warner and Bancroft from all forms of international and state cricket. While Smith and Warner were meted out harsher punishments with 12-month bans, Bancroft was banned for nine months. While Warner was found guilty after CA’s investigation, Smith and Bancroft had already confessed for their wrongdoing post the day’s play in a shocking press conference.
Bancroft, on that occasion, had been similarly charged as Chandimal has been on Sunday (June 17) – Level 2.2.9, which saw the Australian opener copping a fine of 75 per cent of his match fees, with three demerit points.
There were more far reaching consequences than just the bans handed out to the players, as head coach Darren Lehmann too announced his decision of stepping down from the position after the conclusion of the Test series. Ever since, Australia have made new appointments in the form of a new head coach Justin Langer and new skipper Tim Paine, both of who have been vocal in trying to resurrect the shattered team culture.
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