Sheffield Shield 2015-16
Players criticise Lewis over Shield incident
Michael Clarke and Ryan Harris among those to condemn Bushrangers coach for incident in Shield final
28 March 2016, 07:42 PM AEST
Some of Australia's modern greats have criticised Victoria's fast-bowling coach Mick Lewis after his side was penalised five runs for deliberately altering the condition of the ball during the Sheffield Shield final.
Lewis, the former Bushrangers fast-bowler who played seven one-day internationals and two T20s for Australia in 2005-06, appeared to rub the ball on the concrete surrounding Glenelg's Gliderol Stadium on day three of the match against South Australia.
The Redbacks were awarded five penalty runs following the incident, which came in the 11th over of their second innings.
Former Australia players Jason Gillespie and Greg Blewett criticised Lewis on social media, with Blewett labelling the incident a "disgrace!!!".
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke and former Test quick Ryan Harris both retweeted a comment from former South Australia High Performance co-ordinator Simon Cain, who said the incident was "absolutely disgraceful".
Just seen the footage of the blatant ball tampering in the shield final. Absolutely disgraceful from the Vic support staff member.— Simon Cain (@scain26) March 28, 2016
Current Australia quick Mitchell Starc and former Test opener Ed Cowan also weighed in, making reference to the match between the Vics and NSW from earlier in the Shield season, which saw the Bushrangers awarded six points after the playing surface at the SCG was deemed unsafe.
Disgrace!!!! https://t.co/A9NF2S7SkB— Greg Blewett (@blewy214) March 28, 2016
@mstarc56 no sand on the outfield so unlikely.— Ed Cowan (@eddiecowan) March 28, 2016
The incident overshadowed the third day of what has been an engrossing Shield decider, which ended with the home side leading by 78 runs with six second-innings wickets in hand.
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Lewis, who was walking along the boundary line on the western side of the ground, went to retrieve the ball as it finished on the grass just inches in front of the fence after SA opener Mark Cosgrove had pulled a Scott Boland delivery for four.
He appeared to kick the ball onto the concrete under the fence and having lent down to pick up the ball, took longer than would be expected to get it in his grasp before getting hold of it and throwing it back to the fielders.
The umpires later replaced the ball and match official Steve Bernard announced the Bushrangers had been penalised five runs.
"The umpires had determined that the condition of the ball had been deliberately altered," Bernard said in a statement.
"Under the laws of cricket they imposed the five run penalty against the Victorian side and replaced the ball."
Law 42 of Cricket Australia's Playing Conditions for the Sheffield Shield states: "If the umpires together agree that the deterioration in the condition of the ball is greater than is consistent with the use it has received, they shall consider that there has been a contravention of this Law. They shall then decide together whether they can identify the player(s) responsible for such conduct."
The law continues: "If it is possible to identify the player(s) responsible, the umpires shall change the ball forthwith ... additionally the bowler's end umpire shall: Award 5 penalty runs to the batting side, inform the captain of the fielding side of the reason for the action taken, inform the captain of the batting side as soon as practicable of what has occurred and together with the other umpire report the incident to the Match Referee, who shall take action as is appropriate against the player(s) responsible."
It remains to be seen if Bernard will take any further action against Lewis or the Bushrangers.