After all the hoopla surrounding mint-gate, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was in good spirits ahead of the first Day-Night Test between Australia and South Africa, which will take place at Adelaide, starting on Thursday.
The Proteas skipper spoke about the verdict, something that he “completely” disagreed with, all the media attention that surrounded him after the news broke out and the support he has received from his teammates, former and current players about the use of mints for shining the ball.
“First of all, thanks for all the love last week. I certainly never thought that I am that famous that I can make the headlines everyday. So that was a pretty cool experience,”
He admitted that he was most disappointed about the fact that the splendid cricket that his side was completely overlooked by this small issue.
“We’ve played exceptionally well and as a leader you want to make sure that (the cricket) takes headlines, so for me it’s been disappointing to see that such a small thing has happened, according to me and that’s taken all the shine away from that (the cricket), excuse the pun.”
However, despite being punished by the ICC, it is certainly heartening to see that the South African captain is still in the mood to make jokes and share a laugh. And that was evident in the way he responded to the question about whether he would shine the ball in the same way.
“The timing is perfect that it's the pink ball. Apparently it swings more. It will be interesting to see how to shine the ball. I will probably just touch my finger like that and get a little bit of spit on it," he added, with his tongue firmly in his cheek.
And when asked about whether he would still use mints? "Possibly just for bad breath now, not for shining the ball. I still the feel exactly the same way. Whether I was guilty or not, whether the sentence was different or not, I still feel exactly the same way. Maybe that needs to change now but possibly for this one game, I just maybe need to stay away from the mints.”
He was quick to thank his teammates, especially Hashim Amla, for showing a united front while addressing the media at the MCG.
"If you know the character of someone like Hashim Amla, you will understand that for him to go out and stand in front of the press and say the things that he said, he will feel very strongly about it,” he said. “He is just the most honest guy on the planet so for him to say that means a lot," du Plessis said. "It's speaks a lot about our culture and how we don't let any outside noise creep into our space.”
Faf’s take on ICC’s verdict
"Yesterday was the hearing and the verdict was that I was guilty. I completely disagree with that. I felt like I have done nothing wrong," du Plessis said. “There's two ways of looking at it, either ball-shining or ball-tampering. For me, if you talk about ball-tampering, that is something that's wrong. It's picking the ball, scratching the ball.
"Shining is something that all cricketers would say is not in that same space. It 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."
While the 32-year-old admitted that he did shine the ball, he admitted the whole saga has opened up a grey area that needs to be tackled.
"The ex-players have spoken about it. It's part of our game. It's been an unwritten rule," the Proteas skipper said. "Some people use sunblock to shine the ball. I know of people who carry lip-ice in their pocket and shine the cricket ball or gum. So many things. It's just so difficult to say what is right and what is wrong. To say that when you have a sweet in your mouth, it's wrong but when you have a sweet in your mouth and the camera doesn't pick up on it, it's okay. It's just a really massive grey area.”