LONDON, May 8: Adam Gilchrist was entitled to use a squash ball inside his glove when batting during the World Cup final, cricket’s lawmaker said on Tuesday.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) said Gilchrist had not acted against the laws or spirit of the game.
“Gilchrist’s use of a squash ball was designed to alter his grip on the bat whilst at the crease, something which he was perfectly entitled to do,” the MCC said on Tuesday.
Gilchrist scored 149 runs as Australia defeated Sri Lanka by 53 runs in the rain-affected World Cup final on April 28 in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Secretary Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Kangadaran Mathivanan objected to Gilchrist’s tactic, describing it as unethical and claiming it gave him an unfair advantage.
The MCC said the relevant rule only stated what external protective equipment was allowed. For batsmen, helmets, pads, gloves and forearm guards are all listed as permitted.
“None has any definition or prescription,” the MCC said. “Since there is no restriction in law even on the external form of batting gloves, let alone the interior thereof, no law has been breached.”
Gilchrist has used a squash ball inside his glove for years as a practice aid to keep his bottom hand from moving too far around the grip. After he reached his century against Sri Lanka, he waved, via the TV cameras, to batting coach Bob Meuleman in Perth, Australia, who had given him the idea.
“This should not be considered unfair,” the MCC said. “Similarly, it has never been considered unfair for batsmen to use two grips on the bat handle.”
In Australia, Meuleman said he laughed out loud when he heard the Sri Lankans had objected.
“Actually, it's just a little bid sad that some people think there's something sinister in it,” he said on Tuesday. “There’s not.”
Gilchrist’s former West Australian coach, Wayne Clark, said it was ludicrous to think it gave Gilchrist an unfair advantage. “They're grasping at straws,” Clark stated.
Senior Australian umpire Bob Parry, who stood in a one-day match in Perth last season in which Gilchrist had a squash ball in his glove while scoring a century against Queensland, said he had no problem with it.
“I don't see it being outside the spirit of the game,” he said. “It’s the same as wearing an extra inner inside a batting glove.” –AP