• Richards condones ball-tampering

    Former South Africa batsman Barry Richards has insisted the International Cricket Council legitimise ball-tampering.

    Richards’ remarks come amid the ongoing World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where plenty of high scores on several flat pitches have highlighted a large disparity between bat and ball.

    Centurions David Miller, JP Duminy, Lendl Simmons, Aaron Finch and Virat Kohli were particularly fruitful during the opening week of the ODI tournament, capitalising against opposition bowling attacks often at the mercy of pitches very conducive for batting – and relatively small outfields.

    ‘All I want is a 50-50 contest, which it is not now. If it continues the way it is, kids will only want to bat. There will be no bowlers and the game will decline,’ Cricket Australia’s website quoted Richards as saying.

    ‘Reverse swing is an art. Let the bowlers rub the ball in the dirt if they want to – because not all bowlers can produce reverse swing. The pressing of cricket bats, also, has to be controlled and the thickness in their edges.

    ‘Maybe there can also be a designated sweet spot area for bats, ours used to be about the size of a 50 cent piece but now they are much bigger. You could also relax cricket’s leg-side rules a bit. These are just a few of my ideas, because batsmen have it too easy these days.’

    Proteas fielder Faf du Plessis and seamer Vernon Philander were found guilty of ball-tampering in October 2013 and July 2014 respectively.

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