The Roar
The Roar


Richard Kettleborough knows all about ball-tampering

Cameron Bancroft of Australia talks to the umpire. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)
18th June, 2018

Yorkshireman Richard Kettleborough played 33 games for his county before turning his hand to umpiring.

The 45-year-old started his international umpiring career in 2009, and was appointed to the elite panel in 2011 with now 51 Tests, 74 ODIs, and 22 T20s to his credit.

But through sheer chance, Kettleborough has been directly involved in three ball-tampering decisions.

He was an on-field umpire when South African captain Faf du Plessis was found guilty in Hobart in November 2016 against Australia, and when Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft admitted guilt in Cape Town last March.

Ian Gould was the TV umpire in Cape Town who provided the ‘Sandpapergate’ evidence.

Their positions are reversed in Gros Islet with Gould on-field and Kettleborough the TV umpire where Sri Lankan captain Dinish Chandimal was charged on television evidence last Friday with altering the condition of the ball by applying saliva with a sweet in his mouth.

That was exactly what du Plessis did in Hobart, despite pleading not guilty, as Chandimal did at the weekend.

Du Plessis was found guilty and appealed, but lost that as well to be fined his entire match fee, but avoided any match bans.

Faf du Plessis shines the ball with a mint in his mouth

Faf du Plessis (Image: Channel Nine)


That dramatically changed in Cape Town, where the ICC banned Smith for a Test that turned into a 12-month suspension from Cricket Australia for captain Smith, and his vice-captain David Warner, and nine months for the sandpaper user Cameron Bancroft.

You would think the severity of those suspensions would deter anyone in the future from ball-tampering, but obviously Chandimal didn’t get the message, especially as the old umpiring hands on tampering are on duty like Kettleborough and Gould who know what to look for, and how to prove it.

Gould is an on-field umpire with the vastly experienced Aleem Dar, Kettleborough the TV umpire.

Again television evidence is damning, so Chandimal’s not guilty plea has only put off the final decision until a hearing at the completion of the Test.

Match referee Javagal Srinath, who has already awarded five penalty runs to the West Indies after the tampering charge was laid last Friday and the ball changed, will chair that hearing.

Chandimal faces a Test suspension, or two ODIs, but that’s about to change with the ICC soon to announce that in future the minimum suspension for ball-tampering will be four Tests, or eight ODIs.

The ICC moves in mysterious ways.

For two decades it was just ball-tampering, now the ICC describes it as cheating and not in the spirit of the game under its Code of Conduct.


The media has played its part as well, writing off previous ball-tamperings as just that until Smith, Warner, and Bancroft were promoted to creating a scandal, splashing the story over the front and back pages of newspapers, and heading the television and radio news.

Cameron Bancroft

Cameron Bancroft of Australia talks to the umpire. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)

Social media went off the planet.

And in the light of all that massive and damning coverage, Dinish Chandimal can still manage to get himself charged with ball-tampering on television evidence.

Mind boggling.