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The Laws of Cricket, 2000 code - Law 42, covering fair and unfair play says:
"(a) Any fielder may
(i) polish the ball provided that no artificial substance is used and that
such polishing wastes no time (England's John Lever comes to mind).
(ii) remove mud from the ball under the supervision of the umpire (Pat Symcox who was commentating at the time, felt that Sachin
Tendulkar was merely cleaning mud off the seam. But since he was not doing
it under the supervision of the umpire, he may have contravened this
(iii) dry a wet ball on a towel.
(b) It is unfair for anyone to rub the ball on the ground for any reason
(Bedi, Chandrashekar and Prasanna did it quite openly and legally when we
used to open the bowling attack with the likes of Gavaskar and Solkar),
interfere with any of the seams or the surface of the ball, use any
implement, or take any other action whatsoever which is likely to alter the
condition of the ball, except as permitted in (a) above."
This article from The Daily Mirror, posted on a newsgroup,
explains the methods in which a ball could be tampered with.
A reason to tamper with the ball is to enable one to generate prodigious
movement and swing. This Web page explains the
aerodyanamics, science and art of swing bowling.
Allegations of ball tampering have been made against a slew of international
Waqar Younis was perhaps the first bowler to be suspended and fined for ball
Tendulkar was accused in early 2000 by Abdur Razzaq in
Australia while playing a league match against Pakistan, but was later
cleared. Two other ball tampering cases that made headlines were Michael
and Hansie Cronje.
For more information on ball tampering you can also try Rediffsearch.
Prem Panicker on the controversy
Cricket's sharp practice
Tendulkar's cameraman speaks
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