Faf du Plessis will find out by Sunday if he will face a charge for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct after South Africa’s stand-in captain was shown on camera shining the ball with what appeared to be a sweet in his mouth. ICC CEO David Richardson is expected to take a call over the incident, which took place during the recent Hobart Test.
The footage emerged on Wednesday, the day after the conclusion of the match, which South Africa won by an innings and 80 runs to take the series. It was not reported by match officials within the stipulated 18 hours after the game. Instead, the ICC was alerted of the incident through media queries and is now reviewing it of its own volition. It has until Sunday, a stipulated five days after it began reviewing the footage, to make its decision.
“The ICC has been alerted to the footage and is currently reviewing the incident from the perspective of it being a possible breach of the ICC Code of Conduct,” an ICC spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo.
Although Cricket South Africa has not made an official comment on the matter, it is understood the board is confident du Plessis was acting within the laws of the game. Cricket Australia has also not commented, neither has it registered an official complaint.
This is not the first time du Plessis has come under scrutiny. In 2013, five penalty runs were awarded to Pakistan, the ball changed and du Plessis fined 50% of his match fee for rubbing the ball close to the zipper of his trouser pocket during a Test in Dubai. Du Plessis pleaded guilty to the charge and match referee David Boon said he was satisfied that du Plessis’ actions were “not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball”.
It is also not the first time South Africa have faced allegations of tampering with the ball, by either opposition or officials. In March 2014, David Warner accused AB de Villiers of scuffing up the ball with his gloves, for which Warner was fined 15% of his match fee. After the Perth Test, Josh Hazlewood said he saw South Africa throwing the ball onto the pitch in order to try and accelerate the deterioration of one side in order to generate reverse-swing. Ahead of the Hobart Test, du Plessis maintained the ball had reversed the same for both teams and said the issue had been “blown out of proportion”. Neither incident was taken up further.
Previously, in July 2014, Vernon Philander was fined 75% of his match fee after footage of him digging into the ball with his nail was made available to Jeff Crowe, the match referee in Sri Lanka. Philander accepted his penalty without contest.
South Africa were originally scheduled to play a two-day pink-ball practice match over the weekend in Melbourne. Instead, that game has been altered to a one-day match on Saturday, giving them extra time off after their series win and ahead of the final Test, which starts in Adelaide from November 24. (Courtesy ESPN Cricinfo)