South Africa’s stand-in Test skipper Faf du Plessis has filed an appeal against the International Cricket Council (ICC) after being found guilty of ball tampering in the recently completed second Test against Australia in Hobart.
The 32-year old was at the center of scrutiny in a ball tampering episode dubbed as 'Mint-Gate' and subsequently received a 100 percent match fine for breaching clause 2.2.9 of ICC's Code of Conduct. Backed by Cricket South Africa (CSA), he has decided to take the matter to an independent commission after publicly claiming his innocence.
CSA’s Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat confirmed, “Faf has decided to appeal the match referee's decision after he and his legal team had studied the written reasons provided by the match referee. In his mind, Faf is clear that he did not alter the condition of the ball nor did he intend to do so and that the match referee was not correct to find him guilty. He is understandably feeling aggrieved.”
“CSA will support him to appeal the decision before an independent Judicial Commissioner as there are issues relating to fair and just process, interpretation of the rules, science and performance that needs to be considered.”
Last week, video footage emerged of du Plessis applying saliva on the ball whilst having mint in his mouth. Australia were bowled out for 85 and 161 on a seam-friendly Hobart pitch even as South Africa wrapped up a comfortable innings victory.
During an extensive ICC hearing in Adelaide which is the venue for the 3rd Test, he was deemed responsible for changing the nature of the ball by Match Referee Andy Pycroft and hence got docked of his entire match fee.
Interestingly, the apex body did not investigate the alleged ball-tampering claims relating to Australian opener David Warner and Indian skipper Virat Kohli as the video footage in both cases was not brought to their notice within five days of the supposed incident.
Also Read: Ball Tampering – What’s all the fuss about?
It is understood to be a common practice for cricketers of the past as well as the present to apply saliva on the ball at regular intervals. Mints and sweets are often taken by the players during drinks and other breaks.
A visibly aggrieved du Plessis had said, “I completely disagree with that (the verdict). I felt like I have done nothing wrong. (Shining is) something all cricketers do and I think there will be a lot of emphasis after this incident on where the game is going, what the ICC is going to do about it. I don't believe shining is wrong. It's not like I was trying to cheat or anything. I was shining a ball and I see no problem with that.”
Amidst the weight of additional attention, the right-hander responded with an unbeaten 118 during the opening day of the third Test in Adelaide to take his team from a precarious position to a competitive first-innings total.