Trent Bridge, August 1: Sun-block for the face and vaseline... not for chapped lips, but for the bat! The viscous substance can allegedly be applied on a batsman's willow to pre-empt the Hot Spot facility from picking up nicks. Indeed, the scientific argument is that the DRS facility can't detect a point of impact when it is muffled by a light filmy substance.
Such is the shady physics that former England captain Michael Vaughan accused Indian batsman VVS Laxman of subscribing to. In so doing, Vaughan has stirred up a furore among the Indian cricket fraternity, most notably Sunil Gavaskar and Sanjay Manjrekar. Gavaskar lashed out at the ex-England skipper, even going as far to say that Laxman should seek legal intervention against him. Meanwhile, Manjrekar claimed that Vaughan was just seeking undue attention.
Vaughan for his part, responded by pacifying the insulted parties and claiming that slapping vaseline onto the bat doesn't even constitute a violation of the cricketing code of conduct (unlike for putting the substance on the cricket ball). The preceding debate erupted when the third umpire adjudged Laxman not out after England was confident James Anderson had had him caught behind. What should have ended the ruckus immediately is that English paceman Stuart Broad later admitted that he had checked Laxman's bat for evidence of vaseline and found none.
Meanwhile, brand Vaseline wouldn't be complaining as the company behind the product that has stoked up a controversy, is getting some free publicity. Perhaps sales will even surge if the batsmen know they can get away with the trick...