What is “Ball Tampering” that is being considered by ICC recently?

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is considering to legalize ball tampering.

Context of the News

The ICC is considering to use an artificial substance under the supervision of umpires to polish cricket balls as applying saliva risks the spread of COVID-19. The use of artificial substance has been banned in cricket.

What is ball tampering?

Ball Tampering is an action in which the player of the fielding team in cricket illegally alters the condition of the ball. It is done to achieve favourable bowling conditions against the batsman. Using sweat or spit to remove the mud or to polish the ball is common and is allowed.

Why is sweat or spit used?

The sweat or spit is used to make the ball look shiny. The technique is used by the bowlers after the ball gets older, mostly after 35 overs. The sweat or spit is used to make one side shiny and the other side rough.

Physics behind using sweat or spit

The swing of the ball depends on three factors namely climatic conditions, shiny side and behaviour of the pitch. The science of shiny side is applied in using sweat or spit.

The cricket ball creates turbulence as its swings. In conventional swing, ball moves towards the side of greater turbulence. On the other hand, during reverse swing, it goes other way. Therefore, the bowler polishes one side of the ball to make it reverse swing. This is done to create challenging conditions for the batsman.


Under subsection 3 of the Laws of Cricket the ball shall be polished without use of artificial substances. It can be dried with towel to remove the mud in the ball.


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