Woakes wants clarification on 'grey area' in wake of Du Plessis ball-tampering
Chris Woakes insists England will carry on sucking their sweets in Test matches, despite the furore over South Africa captain Faf du Plessis’ fine for ball-tampering.
Woakes is the first England player to make public comment about the controversy which erupted after South Africa’s series-sealing victory over Australia in Hobart.
Du Plessis was fined his whole match fee but was not banned, and therefore cleared to play in the ongoing day-night Test in Adelaide, after the International Cricket Council ruled that broadcast footage of him shining the ball with residue from a sweet in his saliva amounted to a breach of the governing body’s code of conduct.
Further video evidence then emerged of Virat Kohli, from the first Test of India’s series against England in Rajkot, which was interpreted by some as another possible example of the same practice.
The India captain will face no inquiry, however, because the mandatory five-day window in which an investigation must begin under ICC protocol had passed before the footage came to light.
Woakes, set to return for England when the series resumes in Mohali on Saturday, has called for clarification of a “grey area” from administrators – but also spelled out, as the rules currently stand, there is no need for Alastair Cook’s team to change their own methods.
“Occasionally at drinks breaks, the guys will come and have sweets or mints – just to freshen up and keep the energy going,” he said.
“But nothing from the sweet is allowed to go on the ball, or is supposed to. So therefore we don’t do that.
“It’s just a sugar boost really, I suppose.
“In the middle of the day, there’s only so many fluids you can take on board – so many bananas you can eat – so during a tough session, when the opposition are 200 for two, the odd lolly here or there is quite nice.”
England may at some point, he concedes, have to consider ditching the mints if it becomes obvious that is what the ICC stipulates.
At present, though, there is no suggestion that is the case, and Woakes added: “If you’re seen putting a sweet on to the ball, I think that obviously is against the rules. But everything else seems to be a little bit of a grey area.
“We won’t be changing anything we do when we go out there this week. There’s cameras always on you and always has been … there’s nothing we need to change.
“We try to saturate the one side of the ball, get it as smooth as possible. Generally the ball doesn’t conventionally swing here, so we try to make the most of that for the first six overs … keep the other side as dry and rough as possible.
“We’ve had good results in the first two Test matches by doing that, so we’re not going to be trying to change anything we’ve done so far.”
Woakes is expected to return from the knee niggle he rested in England’s second-Test defeat in Vizag, in place of Stuart Broad who missed practice on Thursday because of the strained tendon in his right foot.
England are set to make one other change this weekend, Jos Buttler back for his first Test in 13 months, with out-of-form Ben Duckett likely to be dropped.