As if the mauling at the hands of the English batsmen was not enough, the Indians seem to be bracing up for another low on Friday as photographs of Virender Sehwag polishing the ball after, allegedly, munching on mints were published in Britain’s Daily Mail. There is nothing wrong in polishing the ball. But when an external substance is applied to the leather, it becomes contentious and goes against the rules, which are quite clear about ball tampering.Law 42.3(a) (i) states that any fielder may “polish the ball provided that no artificial substance is used and that such polishing wastes no time”. The incident happened during Thursday’s play as Alastair Cook made mincemeat of the Indian bowling attack to pile up runs and the visitors failed to make an impression.To be fair to Sehwag, neither the on-field umpires nor the International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee found anything wrong in his actions, so the swashbuckling opener can’t be accused of cheating.Also, there is no clarity that the pictures of Sehwag polishing the ball and picking up the alleged object – mints – from the ground were clicked at the same time and in a sequence.Over the years, bowlers and fielders have used different tactics to work on the ball that would make it swing more or turn more. For instance, former England captain Mike Atherton once kept dirt in his trousers’ pocket and rubbed it on the ball to gain advantage.He was eventually caught by the cameras. Imran Khan, in one of his books, admitted that he used crown caps to scratch one side of the ball to gain more swing. Similarly, some bowlers are known to have lifted the seam of the ball.advertisementBut with the introduction of ICC match referees and 20-plus cameras covering international matches – besides, the third umpire keeps a close watch on the on- field action all the time – the incidents of ball tampering have been reduced.