Mint made Ashes swing in England's favour

In a shocking revelation, Marcus Trescothik has admitted that during the 2005 Ashes series he had used an artificial substance to shine the ball.

updated: August 28, 2008 06:45 IST
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In a shocking revelation, former England opener Marcus Trescothik has admitted that during the 2005 Ashes series he had used an artificial substance to shine the ball.

Trescothik in his recently published autobiography, "Coming Back to Me" wrote that the secret behind pacers Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones' virtually unplayable reverse swing deliveries during the series was a special brand of mints, 'Murray Mints'.

"I was firmly established as the man in charge of looking after the ball when we were fielding," Trescothik was quoted as saying by "The Australian" in his autobiography.

"It was my job to keep the shine on the new ball for as long as possible with a bit of spit and a lot of polish. And through trial and error I finally settled on type of spit for the task at hand," he added.

During the 2005 Ashes, the English pacers ability to reverse the ball early in the innings led to the downfall of the Australian top order. Jones and Flintoff regularly swung the ball in the first 20 overs, which ultimately played a vital role in England's triumph over Australia.

Trescothick, who retired from international cricket earlier this year, wrote that he experimented with mints until he found the right brand.

"It had been common knowledge in county cricket for some time that certain sweets produced saliva which, when applied to the ball for cleaning purposes, enabled it to keep its shine for longer and therefore its swing.

"I had a go at Murray Mints and found they worked a treat," he said.

Incidentally, it was not the first time that Trescothik adopted unfair means to shine the ball. The left-hander also used mints during the 2001 Ashes and narrowly escaped during the Headingley Test.

"For the first time, as I dived to gather the ball at square-leg, I landed on my side and a shower of Murray Mints spewed out of my trouser pocket all over the grass right in front of the umpire," he wrote.

"Fortunately neither he nor the two batsmen seemed to take much notice as I scrambled around on all fours trying desperately to gather in the sweets before they started asking awkward questions.''

The ICC laws strictly prohibits the usage of artificial substance on the surface of the ball and considers the act against the spirit of the game.

In 2004 the then India vice-captain Rahul Dravid was fined half of his match fee for similar act during a tri-series one-day match against Zimbabwe in Brisbane.