The Faf du Plessis hearing and the subsequent verdict made headlines in the cricket world today. Over the past few days, there have been all kinds of talk over the matter. The Proteas initially thought the matter was silly but were subsequently in for a rude shock when they discovered that the ICC was investigating the matter.
As the seriousness of the matter surfaced, several former cricketers took to social media and expressed their displeasure. Matthew Hayden, Graeme Smith and Matt Prior rubbished the matter. And today, just as news from the hearing spread, another shocking revelation emerged – this time from an English tabloid.
The tabloid pulled up video grabs of Indian skipper Virat Kohli applying saliva to the ball as a mint like substance stuck out of his mouth. Surely, you would think this matter would be investigated now and Kohli would be hauled up for a hearing. Apparently not!
Turns out that any Level 1 or Level 2 offence under the purview of the ICC Code of Conduct ought to be brought to the match referee’s notice within five days of the incident having taken place.
The images pertaining to Virat Kohli were from England's second inning at the Rajkot Test. Given the lapse of time, England cannot appeal for the incident to be reviewed.
Du Plessis however, wasn’t that lucky. ICC CEO Dave Richardson filed the charge on November 18, three days after the incident transpired. Therefore, the fact that the video evidence against the South African skipper surfaced within five days meant that matter had to be investigated by the ICC.
Also, only the match umpires, CEOs of the boards of the countries playing or the ICC CEO can file a violation of the ICC Code of Conduct.
Clause 3.2.2 of the ICC Code of Conduct reads as follows:
"Where the Report is lodged by the individual described in Article 3.1.3 [the ICC CEO] in relation to:
126.96.36.199 a Level 1 Offence or a Level 2 Offence that is alleged to have been committed at any time or place (whether on the field of play or otherwise), then the Report must be lodged with the Match Referee (or, where, for logistical reasons, it is impractical to lodge with the Match Referee, the ICC's Cricket Operations Department) within five (5) days of the commission of the alleged offence"
In light of the player’s reaction, calls are now being made for an amendment in the law. This, however, lies solely in the purview of the MCC. This matter, therefore, is set to surface in subsequent meetings of the MCC.
Until such time though, players will have to watch what they’re sucking or chewing when shining the ball.