Former South African batting legend Barry Richards has slammed the 'ball tampering' rule, saying "ban on use of things like bottle-tops scratching the ball" can be understood but "using the ground is a different issue."
Richards's comments come in the wake of an incident during the ongoing Test between Australia and South Africa wherein umpires Aleem Dar and Nigel Llong waved fingers at Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis during Australia's first innings.
With the ball starting to reverse, the South Africans tried to enhance the process by deliberately bouncing it back to ’keeper Quinton de Kock in an attempt to rough up one side of it.
"Look I can understand all those rules that ban the use of things like bottle-tops scratching the ball,'' Richards was quoted as saying by news.com.au.
"Clearly they can't allow that but I haven't got a single issue with bouncing the ball back. Batsmen get quite enough their way these days with the big bats and pitches the way they are," he added.
The former South African batting legend said that using the ground is a different issue.
"It's part of the conditions. If you want to take the risk bouncing the ball then that's your decision. But seeing umpires waving their fingers as if some big crime had been committed ... I just don't get it," he said.
The 71-year-old former batsman further asked if there would be a ban on batsman to hit the ball into the ground when they play defensively.
"Let's give the bowlers something. And even if it works for one bowler it might not work for the bowler at the other end. I have seen that plenty of times so I just cannot consider it ball tampering and would like to see the game loosen up a bit," he said.
It should be noted that Richards is not the only former cricketer who has been campaigning for a better deal for bowlers. New Zealand great Sir Richard Headlee has for long advocated the idea of letting bowlers tamper with the ball by using anything "on their person''.
Image: South Africa's Vernon Philander during the Perth Test
Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images