Concerns have been raised in cricketing circles about the actions of West Indies middle-order batsman/wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran, during the third One-Day International against Afghanistan at Lucknow, India, yesterday.
Video footage has been making social media rounds showing Pooran using his right hand to shine the ball at the back of his pants. The West Indies left-hander briefly appears to use his thumb to rub the ball before continuing to rub it on his pants. At no stage in the footage does Pooran use both hands on the ball.
But social media reports are suggesting that Pooran’s actions were tantamount to ball-tampering and that he might have acted in a manner to change the condition of the ball.
There have been previous instances where a number of players have used their fingernails to pick the seam of the ball and in all instances have been shown to use one hand to hold the ball and the other to pick the seam.
Last year, two veteran Australian cricketers, captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner along with newcomer, Cameron Bancroft, were banned on the charges of tampering with the ball during the Test match at Newlands in South Africa. The issue impacted Australian Cricket profoundly and shook the cricketing community. All three have since returned to international cricket and featured in the recently drawn Ashes series
In 2016, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis was found guilty of ball-tampering by the International Cricket Council for using mints to alter the condition of the ball.
In 2010, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was banned for two international games after television cameras caught the all-rounder biting the ball. All the mentioned players were charged with an article 2.2.9 offence of the ICC Code of Conduct that relates to “changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3 of the Laws of Cricket”. At the time Afridi said: “I shouldn’t have done it. It just happened . . . There is no team in the world that doesn’t tamper with the ball. My methods were wrong. I am embarrassed, I shouldn’t have done it . . .”
Despite the widely circulated video footage the International Cricket Council has so far made no public statement on the incident and it is uncertain whether the matter is being formally investigated.
The Afghanistan trio of on-field umpires Bismillah Jan Shinwari and Ahmed Shah Durrani and television umpire Ahmed Shah Pakteen officiated the game, while England’s Chris Broad was the match referee. No allegation or charge of ball-tampering was brought against Pooran at the game’s conclusion.
Pooran has been one of the West Indies’ leading players in One-Day International cricket over the past 12 months and was the best batsman on show in the ICC World Cup where the West Indies finished second last. Afghanistan ended last in the tournament.
In the third ODI, West Indies won the toss and opted to bowl first. Afghanistan slumped to 118 for 5 before recovering to 249 for 7 in their 50 overs. Windies’ fast bowlers took six of the seven wickets to fall with swing bowler Keemo Paul taking three wickets for 44 runs in his 10 overs to be the pick of the bowlers. West Indies then chased down the target comfortably, led by Shai Hope’s seventh ODI ton as they completed a 3-0 sweep of Afghanistan.