Former wicketkeeper-batsman Kiran More, who has represented India in 94 ODIs and 49 Tests, has given a shocking statement on ball-tampering in India’s tour of Pakistan in 1989. He said that the players used to scratch ball for reverse swinging because it was prevalent during that time.
In the contemporary cricket world, if a player is found tampering the ball’s condition, it becomes a big show in media and he becomes a villain in the public’s eye. Like Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for one year from cricket by their boards after being found guilty in ball-tampering in the Test match against Australia in 2018.
But Kiran More reveals that ball-tampering was not a big crime during his time. Talking about the India and Pakistan series in 1989, he explained that both the sides changed the condition of the ball for their benefits while umpire had no power to question that.
Scratching the ball was allowed: Kiran More
“In those days, scratching the ball was allowed, so you used to get reverse swing, big time,” More said on The Greatest Rivalry podcast.
“It was like, nobody used to complain from both sides. Everybody used to scratch the ball and reverse swing the ball. It was difficult to bat, it was not easy to bat. Even Manoj Prabhakar learned on that team how to scratch that ball and reverse swing that ball and Pakistan found it challenging.”
John Holder, who officiated in that series, in the interview in 2018 to Mid-Day, had said that he tried to discuss the matter with the two captains – Imran Khan and Kris Srikkanth – but there would be no outcome since there weren’t many offences you could hand out punishments for.
“The problem was we were powerless, because there were no sanctions we could apply. Later there was a rewrite of the laws and they decided to bring penalty runs in for ball-tampering. And then they decided you could ban the bowler from bowling for the rest of the innings,” Holder said.
After retirement, Kiran More served as in India’s selection committee.