The ICC confirmed that South African skipper Faf du Plessis will be fined for allegedly using a mint to shine the ball during Australia’s second innings of the Hobart second Test.
Du Plessis was subjected to a three-hour hearing presided by ICC match referee Andy Pycroft at the Adelaide Oval this afternoon. At the heart of the matter is Law 42.3 which pertains to changing the condition of the ball. Although Du Plessis pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the allegation, he has been charged and held ‘guilty’ by the ICC for having breached the law.
Reporters following the hearing, took to Twitter to announce the verdict.
Subsequently, the ICC issued a press statement declaring that the South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has been found guilty of breaching Article 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct following a hearing before Andy Pycroft of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees in Adelaide.
Excerpts from the ICC statement:
“Du Plessis was charged by ICC Chief Executive David Richardson after television footage appeared to show Mr du Plessis applying an artificial substance to the ball during the fourth day’s play in the second Test against Australia in Hobart.
After hearing representations from both parties and evidence from the umpires in the second Test as well as Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Head of Cricket John Stephenson, Mr Pycroft found Mr du Plessis guilty of the offence.
The decision was based on the evidence given from the umpires, who confirmed that had they seen the incident they would have taken action immediately, and from Mr Stephenson, who confirmed the view of MCC that the television footage showed an artificial substance being transferred to the ball.
Under the version of the Code that came into force on 22 September 2016, the offence was treated as a first offence. Mr du Plessis was fined 100 per cent of his match fee and is free to play in the third Test in Adelaide on Thursday.”
The incident in question occurred in the 54th over of Australia’s second innings. With the scoreboard reading 150/5, television cameras showed Du Plessis repeatedly licking his fingers and then shining the ball. Peter Neville was dismissed the very next ball. Joe Mennie fell soon after.
The entire episode has stirred a hornet’s nest. And in an unusual show of camaraderie, Hashim Amla spoke to the media while being surrounded by his team-mates. "The reason everyone is here is to stand together, really, and to show solidarity to something ... we thought was actually a joke,” he said at the MCG.
"It's not April, but the allegation against Faf was ... a really ridiculous thing. As a team, we're standing strong, we've done nothing wrong. It's basically a joke," he added.
Alma also stated that players eat sweets and chew gum all the time when on the playing field. “We've done nothing wrong and I know Faf has done absolutely nothing wrong," he said.
"I chew bubble gum while I'm on the field - you want me to brush my teeth after lunch? We're standing out on the field for two hours ... there was no malicious intent whatsoever." "I've had sweets in my mouth, bubblegum in my mouth, biltong, nuts - I'm not sure what the big deal is. To a lot of people, it's sounding more like sour sweets."
As for Du Plessis, the isn’t the first time that he’s been hauled up for ball-tampering. In 2013 when playing a Test against Pakistan, Du Plessis had rubbed the ball against the zipper of his trouser. This action had cost him 50% of his match fee after match referee David Boon had found the actions to be in violation of the law.