So, in Marcus Trescothick's new book, he has admitted that he used to suck Murray mints in order to keep the ball shiny. Cue predictable outrage
from Damien Fleming, who says that this ball-tampering plain and simple - and thus contrary to the laws of the game. The laws aren't clear on this point - and it may be that sugary saliva is only a less obvious form of scratching the ball with a bottle top. I doubt it though.
It's a shadowy little area, and people have tried pretty much anything you can think of over the years. Sun cream or vaseline (to stop sweat from dripping into the eyes) have long been used for precisely this purpose. Even Brylcreem was supposed to be pretty effective, but don't tell KP for God's sake - his hair's only just got back to normal as it is.
At least England won by doing it I suppose. Mike Atherton tells a story about how, during the dog days of his England captaincy, he sent the twelfth man to provide sweets to the team to help keep the shine on the ball. He returned with Orbit chewing gum. Sugar-free. We couldn't even cheat properly in those days.