Jadeja questioned by match referee over mystery substance after footage raised ball-tampering suspicions
On a day his magnificent five-fer shaped up early proceedings of the Nagpur Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Ravindra Jadeja fell under scrutiny for a questionable incident that saw him rub some substance on the ball in play.
The premier Indian spinner was seen applying something to his palm with the ball held in his hand after taking it off the hands of fellow bowler and teammate Mohammed Siraj. The incident took place during the second session of Day 1 with Australia 120/5, and Jadeja having dismissed Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw already.
Ravindra Jadeja picked up something off Siraj's hands and applied it on his own palm, which sparked a controversy with the Australia-based 'Sydney Morning Herald' raising suspicion of ball-tampering on the bowler, asking what exactly was he rubbing on his own hand before delivering the ball.
Given the scanner under which the Aussie bowlers continue to operate in the after-world of the contentious 2018 Newlands mishap, the Australian media and fans were quick to speculate if they were being subjected to something untoward by an opposing bowler. Former skipper Tim Paine reacted to a clip of the incident on social media, stating it would make for "interesting" explanation from the Indian camp.
Indian team explains Jadeja's under-scanner substance rub
That explanation arrived after the day's play was over, with Indian skipper Rohit Sharma replying to an informal query from match referee Andy Pycroft about the rubbing incident. As confirmed by a report in the ESPNcricinfo, Rohit is understood to have told Pycroft that Jadeja was applying a pain-relief cream on his palm, feeling the effects of bowling regular overs.
Following the clarification, with which Pycroft was satisfied after examining the clip doing the rounds, Jadeja was given the benefit of the doubt and there was no official charge levied against the left-arm spinner.
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Former Australia captain Michael Clarke, too, was understanding of Jadeja but said the bowler should've been smarter with so many cameras zooming in not to apply the pain-reliever when he had the ball held in his arm.
"He’s bowling so much, so he’s probably got a blister or cut on that finger. What he should have done there, he should have given the ball to the umpire and stood in front of the umpire while he was putting it on his finger," Clarke told Big Sports Breakfast. "I don’t look at that and think it’s a thing. I just wish he didn’t have the ball in his hand."