For violating Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the first Test against Australia in Nagpur, Indian all-rounder and Player of the Match in the first Test, Ravindra Jadeja, was fined 25% of his match money, according to a statement from the International Cricket Council.
The occurrence this offense referred to happened on Thursday, February 9 during the 46th over of Australia’s first innings, when Jadeja was observed soothing his index finger with a cream. The left-arm spinner was seen in the video rubbing something with his left index finger after taking it from Mohammed Siraj’s palm.
Social media users shared a video clip of the footage, in which some, including some from the Australian media, accused Jadeja of tampering with the ball. Jadeja was not found guilty of interfering with the ball, which would have resulted in harsher penalties, according to the match referee.
What is tampering with balls?
Cricket’s sensitive topic of ball tampering frequently leads to discussions about morality and the “Spirit of Cricket.” When Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft were found to be guilty and given significant suspensions by Cricket Australia, Australia was at the center of one of the largest ball-tampering controversies in the history of the sport of cricket.
Why then weren’t Jadeja’s activities seen as tampering?
Rub moisturizer or lip balm on the ball—this is an old trick for interfering with balls. In the third Test match against India in Chennai back in 1977, England bowler John Lever was charged with rubbing Vaseline on one side of the ball to improve its swing. In his book “The Full Monty,” England spinner Monty Panesar more recently acknowledged employing this technique during his career.
As a result, when images of Ravindra Jadeja applying some kind of lotion to his spinning finger surfaced on Thursday, many people immediately accused him of ball tampering.
This, however, was untrue, as per the ICC’s announcement. The ICC statement stated that the match referee was satisfied that the cream was given to the finger only for medical purposes… (and) not as an artificial substance to the ball and, as a result, it did not modify the condition of the ball.
Why was Jadeja given a fine, then?
In violation of “Article 2.20 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which refers to demonstrating conduct that is antithetical to the spirit of the game,” Ravindra Jadeja was found, according to the ICC. Match referee Andrew Pycroft discovered that Jadeja used the lotion to treat swelling on his bowling hand’s index finger without telling the umpires. All conduct that violates the spirit of the game and is not clearly and appropriately addressed by the specific offenses listed elsewhere in this Code of Conduct is covered under Article 2.20. The use of an unlawful bat is an example of a violation of Article 2.20.
Even though Jadeja had a good medical justification for using the cream, the match referee decided that he should have told the on-field umpires first. Jadeja received a punishment equal to 25% of his match money and 1 demerit point because his offense was quite minor.