Ottis: Every team tries to aid reverse swing

Ottis Gibson (Gallo Images)
Ottis Gibson (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The Australian ball tampering saga that has stunned world cricket this week has brought numerous issues to the fore. 

The biggest question marks have perhaps hung over the ICC and their implementation of the demerit point system. 

Despite confessions to the offence from both Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft on Saturday, Smith was banned for just one Test by the ICC while Bancroft received just three demerit points. 

The real punishment instead came from an internal investigation from Cricket Australia, who have suspended Smith and David Warner for a year and Bancroft for nine months. 

The incident has seen numerous critics call for the ICC to rethink their demerit points system. 

The nature of the act has also caused many to question how prominent ball-tampering really is in cricket. 

The Aussies may have been caught now, but there are understandably those who doubt that this was the first time they had engaged in the dark arts. 

How long has it been going on for? Does every team work on the ball in some way? 

Proteas coach Ottis Gibson offered some insight into the practice of getting the ball to reverse, and he acknowledges that "every team" does what they can. 

"Every team has tried to get the ball reversing," Gibson explained.

"They skim (the ball) in, they bounce it in, the spinner gets his hands in the dirt and rubs it on the ball … everybody has a way of getting the ball to go a little bit further.

"The ball will reverse naturally and then everybody has a way of getting it to go further."

The key, obviously, is to act within the laws of the game. 

Since the beginning of the series between the Proteas and Australia, both sides have referred to the "line" and what it means to cross it. 

When it comes to what is acceptable and what is not in terms of working on the ball, Gibson believes that South Africa are well-versed.

"I would hope that it never happens under my watch," he said of the nature of the Australian incident.

"I’m not going to sit here and say that we’re whiter than white or anything. We’ll try and play the game within the rules all the time.

"The imaginary line that has been talked about for the whole series … we feel like we know where that is and we’ll make sure that we never cross that line."

The fourth and final Test of the series gets underway in Johannesburg on Friday.

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