Mumbai: South African skipper Faf Du Plessis was found guilty of ball tampering in the second test against Australia but he has been cleared to play in this week’s third Test against Australia, which is struggling to avoid the ignominy of a first-ever whitewash in a home Test series.
Du Plessis was fined his entire match fee after he was caught on camera sucking a sweet, or mint, trying to tamper the flight of the ball during the second Test in Hobart last week. Match referee Andy Pycroft found Du Plessis guilty at the International Cricket Council (ICC) hearing in Adelaide which examined the video footages of the incident in Hobart.
“The decision was based on the evidence given from the umpires, who confirmed that had they had seen the incident they would have taken action immediately,” an ICC statement said. And from Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) head of cricket John Stephenson, who confirmed the view of MCC that the television footage showed an artificial substance being transferred to the ball.” The row, dubbed as ‘Mintgate’, has proved divisive and an Australian TV reporter in an attempt to question Du Plessis, tussled with South Africa’s team security on Monday.
It is the second time that Du Plessis has been found guilty of ball tampering, after he was fined half of his match fee in 2013 in the second Test against Pakistan. But Pycroft said it was treated as a first offence under ICC’s code of conduct which came into force in September.
Along with a fine of the entire match fee, Du Plessis had three demerit points added to his disciplinary records. If he collects another point in the next 24 months, the points will be converted into suspension points and he will be banned. Two suspension points will mean a ban in one Test or two ODIs or two T20Is, whichever comes first for him.
The ball tampering case has created a tense atmosphere during this tour as South Africa has accused the Australian media of “harassment” over its attempts to interview Du Plessis. Australia is already shaken after the embarrassing defeats after two Tests, prompting its chief selector to resign and a dramatic team shake-up with six players dropped for the day-night Test in Adelaide which begins on Thursday.