Cameron Bancroft had recently suggested that the Australian bowlers were aware of how the ball was to be worked on by sandpaper during the 2018 Cape Town Test against South Africa. 

Now, England pacer Stuart Broad has said that his fellow bowlers such as James Anderson are very particular about the ball; he added that everyone in the England side has to buy into plans to look after the ball, suggesting that there is no way anyone cannot know what substance is to be applied or not applied.       

"I've obviously never bowled within the Australian bowling attack but I can talk about how, in an England Test team, if I miss the seam by four millimetres, Jimmy Anderson is on me," Broad said. "He'll be saying 'why has this ball got a mark on it here? It's because you've missed the seam! Start hitting the seam, will you?'”

Anderson is an acknowledged exponent of reverse swing, and it is understandable why he gets worked up if the ball is not maintained according to team plans. 

Broad went on to say that apart from hitting the seam, there were many other things his side had to keep in mind while trying to make the ball deteriorate in a way that would generate reverse swing.

"Reverse swing with the red ball can be affected by so many different things. If you chase it to the boundary and throw it into the grass it can smooth the ball over and stop it reversing,” Broad said. 

That is why deep fielders will often throw the ball onto the practice pitches on its way back to the keeper, so that it can roughen up quicker on the bald, abrasive surface of those wickets instead of bouncing it on the green outfield.

“If you touch the ball with wet hands it will stop it reversing,” Broad explained further, “If you shine it in a way that smooths over the rough side it will stop it reversing.” 

Teams usually have designated ball shiners to work on one side of the ball, preferably those with palms that don’t sweat too much. England skipper Joe Root prefers to stretch his shirt sleeve over his palms when he rubs the ball to try and keep it dry and gain more shine.

"So as an England team, we are aware if we're trying to get the ball reversing every player has to buy into that or it will stop it,” Broad concluded.

Featured photo: AFP / Mike Hewitt