An International Cricket Council release yesterday confirmed the date of the appeal hearing and of the name of the presiding judicial commissioner, Michael Beloff.
An Oxford-educated English barrister who counts former British prime minister Tony Blair among his friends, Beloff has a prominent track record in sport – he sits on the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Lawyers for Du Plessis and the ICC, who brought the charge against South Africa’s captain after cameras spotted a mint in his mouth while he was shining the ball during the second Test against Australia in Hobart last month, will argue their cases in Dubai.
Du Plessis will join the proceedings on the telephone.
His punishment when he was found guilty by match referee Andy Pycroft was a fine and three demerit points. But if Du Plessis is docked another point by Beloff, he will be banned for the first Test against the Sri Lankans, which starts in Port Elizabeth on December 26.
That could happen, as was made plain in the ICC release.
“According to article 184.108.40.206 [of the ICC code of conduct], the judicial commissioner has the power to increase or decrease, amend or otherwise substitute a new decision on the appropriateness of the sanction imposed at first instance, provided that any new sanction is within the permitted range of sanctions,” it says.
The resultant ban, though inconvenient for a South African team who have rediscovered how to win under Du Plessis’s leadership, would defer the looming problem of how to accommodate AB de Villiers.
South Africa’s appointed one-day and Test captain missed their series in those formats against Australia because of an elbow injury, but he should be good to go against Sri Lanka. (TMG Digital)