‘That’s how you cheat,’ Aussie legend Jeff Thomson on ball-tampering | Daily News


‘That’s how you cheat,’ Aussie legend Jeff Thomson on ball-tampering

Jeff Thomson
Jeff Thomson

Former Australia pacer Jeff Thomson has narrated his ball-tampering episode that could well put the entire Sandpapergate scandal to shame.

Thomson confessed to tampering with a Kookaburra ball during a Sheffield Shield match between his side Queensland against Tasmania sometime in the 1970s, taking his skipper Greg Chappell into confidence.

“We were playing at the Gabba playing Tasmania on a flat as s*** wicket. I was bowling, Boony (David Boon) was batting I think,” Thomson said on The Betoota Advocate Podcast as reported by foxsports.com.au.

“The ball was s***. Kookaburra started making really bad balls because there was no opposition. So the s*** that they made was crap and soft. I’d asked the umpire before the lunch break, ‘This ball’s s***.’ He said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with this.’ It was like a marshmallow. At the lunch break, Greg Chappell said to me, ‘We’ve got to get rid of this ball.’ I said, ‘I’ll fix this freaking thing up.’”

While the 2018 Sandpaper incident was all about keeping improving the condition of the ball to generate swing, Thomson’s idea was the destroy it to an extent that the umpires are left with no other option than getting a new Kookaburra. And for it, the legendary pacer used a Gillette razor blade, carrying it in his pocket.

“This is a true story. Remember those old razor blades? Just a blade on either side, a flat piece of steel. I put that in my pocket. I’ve run around the quarter seam with it and around the main seam, but I pushed it a bit hard. I bowled this ball to Boony, and the thing was nearly fallen in quarters like an orange,” he said.

“After lunch, I said, ‘I told you this ball was f*****, look at this,’ and (the umpire) has gone, ‘Jesus, I’ve never seen a ball do this.’ It’s got clean cuts; it’s not even frayed on the stitching. It’s f***ing clean cut, it was very odd. Anyway, we got a new ball and I got him out and we won the f***ing match. That’s how you cheat.”

Weighing in on the infamous ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australian cricket in March of 2018, leading to suspensions for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, Thomson revealed he was initially furious at the trio, but mostly for confessing the crime rather than letting the board handle it. “I was really angry at the time... It was so dumb, so ridiculous,” Thomson said.

“Then the s*** they said afterwards … Cricket Australia should have jumped in and said, ‘None of you guys are saying a word, we’ll handle this.’

“All they did was shoot themselves in the foot. They should have gagged them.”

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