Chris Woakes calls for clarity to avoid any sticky situations

England's Chris Woakes (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).
England's Chris Woakes (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).
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Chris Woakes insists England will carry on sucking sweets during Test matches, despite the furore over Faf du Plessis’s fine for ball-tampering.

Woakes is the first England player to make public comment about the controversy which erupted after South Africa’s series-sealing victory over Australia in Hobart.

Du Plessis was fined his whole match fee but was not banned, and therefore cleared to lead his team in the ongoing day-night Test in Adelaide, after the International Cricket Council ruled that broadcast footage of him shining the ball with residue from a sweet in his saliva amounted to a breach of its code of conduct.

Further video evidence then emerged of Virat Kohli, from the first Test of India’s series against England in Rajkot, which was interpreted by some as another possible example of the same practice.

The India captain will face no inquiry, however, because the mandatory five-day window in which an investigation must begin under ICC protocol passed before the footage came to light.

Woakes, set to return for England in Mohali on Saturday, has called for clarification of a ‘’grey area’’, but he also believes, as the rules currently stand, there is no need for Alastair Cook’s team to change their methods.

“We haven’t been told off for it, or banned or fined so we’ll continue to do exactly what we’ve done in the past,” he said.

‘’Occasionally at drinks breaks, the guys will come and have sweets or mints – just to freshen up and keep the energy going.

‘’But nothing from the sweet is allowed to go on the ball, or is supposed to. So therefore we don’t do that.”

Woakes would welcome a new ICC directive, following Du Plessis’s punishment, to spell out exactly what is permitted.

“The fact that Faf du Plessis has been fined, the ICC are trying to make a stance on it,” he said.

“(South Africa batsman) Hashim Amla said about him having chewing gum in his mouth pretty much all day - is that deemed as wrong, as cheating? I’m not sure – I think it needs to be clarified as to exactly what the problem is.”

Woakes is expected to return from the knee niggle he rested in England’s second-Test defeat, in place of Stuart Broad who missed practice yesterday because of the strained tendon in his right foot.

England may shuffle their resources further this weekend as they seek to battle back from 1-0 down with three to play.

Jos Buttler will almost certainly return for his first Test in 13 months, with out-of-form Ben Duckett likely to be dropped.

After initial observation of a pitch already bare at both ends, predictions that this venue would favour seam over spin appear wide of the mark.

Gareth Batty may therefore play his first match of the series in place of Zafar Ansari, still troubled by the back spasm which first struck last week in Vizag.

ENGLAND FIXTURES 2017

Tests: Jul 6-10 v South Africa, Lord’s; Jul 14-18 v South Africa, Trent Bridge; Jul 27-31 v South Africa, The Oval; Aug 4-8 v South Africa, Old Trafford; Aug 17-21 v West Indies, Edgbaston (floodlit day/night); Aug 25-29 v West Indies, Headingley; Sep 7-11 v West Indies, Lord’s.

One-day series: May 5 v Ireland, Bristol; May 7 v Ireland, Lord’s; May 24 v South Africa Headingley (floodlit); May 27 v South Africa, Ageas Bowl; May 29 v South Africa, Lord’s; Sep 19 v West Indies, Old Trafford (floodlit).

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