Former South African captain Faf du Plessis has stated that he felt sorry for Australian batter Cameron Bancroft, who was punished for his role in the 2018 ball-tampering controversy. Recalling that he had a similar experience at the start of his Test career, Du Plessis admitted that the Aussies involved in ball-tampering ended up suffering much harsher penalties.
While David Warner and Steve Smith were banned by Cricket Australia (CA) for 12 months for their involvement in the ball-tampering incident, Bancroft was given a nine-month ban. Back in 2013, Plessis was fined 50 percent of his match fee over charges of ball-tampering during a Test against Pakistan in Dubai.
In his book “Faf: Through Fire”, the seasoned Proteas cricketer has opened up about the 'Sandpapergate' controversy in detail. Admitting that he felt bad for the Aussies who were handed bans, Du Plessis said while speaking on “The Grade Cricketer” YouTube channel:
“Sandpapergate - how extreme it was for the Aussie cricketers. If you had to take the guys before, myself included, that did exactly the same thing, it was never that harshly dealt with. I felt sorry for the guys going through it. I speak about Cameron Bancroft (in my book) and it’s almost like feeling identical of what we went through. I was 4-5 Tests old and a similar thing happened to me.
“The fact that zips were removed from trousers because of me, and then also mint and jelly babies, I don’t think that’s something to be too proud of.”
While Smith and Warner have made a successful return to international cricket after serving their respective bans, Bancroft last represented Australia in August 2019.
Faf du Plessis reveals message to Steve Smith after Sandpapergate
During the interaction, Du Plessis also revealed that he sent a message to Smith, who was captain of the team when the Sandpapergate scandal broke out. Recalling that he sympathized with the Aussie, the Proteas cricketer said:
“The first guy I messaged was Smudge (Steve Smith) to say, 'listen, I am so sorry you are going through this. I have gone through this and it’s bad. For the next week, your character is going to get smashed. Just hang in there'. But I didn’t know at that time that his season of pain would be a year, where I just went through a week of it.”
Smith, 33, was impressive in the recently concluded three-match ODI series against England at home. He smashed 195 runs at an average of 97.50 and a strike rate of 93.75.
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