South African captain Faf du Plessis has been fined for ball tampering, but will be free to play the third Test in Adelaide starting Thursday, Cricket Australia reports. Du Plessis had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After a marathon hearing lasting three hours, du Plessis was fined his match fee from the Hobart Test. Sanctions available to the ICC included a fine of up to 100 per cent of his match fee, or a one-Test suspension.
Three demerit points have also been added to du Plessis' disciplinary record. If he reaches four demerit points within two years, they can be converted into suspension points and the South African captain could then face a ban.
The ICC released a statement on Tuesday night saying: "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 [MCC head of cricket John Stephenson], who confirmed the view of MCC that the television footage showed an artificial substance being transferred to the ball."
Australian opening batsman Dave Warner just totally nailed it. As South Africa and Australia prepare to play a little cricket in the third Test in Adelaide after playing silly buggers for a week over accusations of ball tampering, Warner said something every South African should hear.
"At the end of the day, we've been outplayed, outbatted outbowled and outfielded," said Warner, who at 30 is suddenly the oldest -- and it seems wisest -- man on the Aussie team.
"Whether or not there was anything on the ball is irrelevant."
So there you have it. Essentially Warner said Australia has sucked at cricket while South Africa has sucked mints. This, of course, has been the Australian view throughout the saga known as "lollygate" or "mintgate" or whatever you want to call it, and the ensuing airport fracas which we might as well call "boardinggate" even though it happened in the baggage collection area.
- Australia is down 2-0 in the three Test series against South Africa. We have been humbled, resulting in a once-in-a-century selection overhaul.
- But in the first Test in Perth, South African captain Faf du Plessis rubbed saliva on the ball. He did this while sucking a mint. This act may well have contravened Law 42.3 of the official cricket laws, which states that a fielder may polish a ball, "provided that no artificial substance is used".
- A mint can make the ball swing more, making it more difficult to face for batsmen.
- Cricket's governing body, the ICC, has ordered du Plessis to front a hearing. If found guilty, he will be banned for a match.
- Laughably, the hearing was going to happen after this Thursday's Adelaide Test. Now it'll happen Tuesday afternoon.
- One more time: nobody in Australian cricket is blaming the mint incident for the team's poor form. Nor is any Australian waving the finger of accusation. It's the ICC doing that.
But South Africa continues to act like big, bad old Australia is crying and whingeing.
"These bloody Australians need to leave Faf alone" is the cheeky headline from our Huffington Post colleagues in South Africa. It's typical of the mood in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the South African team issued a statement overnight from team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee on the Adelaide Airport argy bargy.
"The Australian media and Channel 9 News in particular have been advised on numerous occasions over the past few days that Cricket South Africa and captain, Faf du Plessis, are not in a position to comment on the alleged ball tampering issue.
However, despite our best intentions to co-operate with the Australian media, Channel 9 News' behaviour has been disappointing. We have advised of our media protocol which has been blatantly ignored, both at the team's hotel on Friday and Saturday and again at the airport in Adelaide today.
This is the third incident of a reporter aggressively harassing our players with blatant disrespect of the above-mentioned media protocol.
The 'reporter' at the airport disrespected us and continued to harass Faf for comment. The 'reporter' was also in the unusual position of being in the middle of the players' walkway to the bus. He was advised to move three times, and did not adhere to this request.
The 'reporter', who also had no official accreditation, then proceeded to lunge towards Faf with an unknown object causing a direct breach of security protocol. The reporter also shoved the team manager in the back.
Throughout the tour we have respected all our media obligations and treated media with utmost respect. At the same time, we would like to see this respect reciprocated and will not accept such behaviour as displayed by the Channel 9 News reporter."
Dr Moosajee makes a good point or two. The reporter's conduct was a little intrusive. Not sure he deserved three shoves form a security guard for it, but that's not for us to judge.
What we can judge is Australian cricket's response to the broader saga. South African media, and many of its players (via social media and this weird press conference), have framed the issue as though Australia is targeting South Africa's captain out of sour grapes. That's just not the case. We're owning our poor form. Dave Warner just proved that.