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I’m no cheat, says du Plessis after guilty verdict

South African captain says decision opens up a ‘can of worms’

Image Credit: AFP
South Africa’s cricket captain Faf du Plessis during a press conference. Du Plessis escaped a ban and is free to lead the Proteas today in the third Test against Australia.
Gulf News

Adelaide: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis insisted he wasn’t a cheat and warned cricket authorities had opened a “can of worms” on Wednesday after he was found guilty of ball-tampering in controversial circumstances.

Du Plessis was fined his entire match fee on Tuesday after being caught on camera sucking a mint and rubbing saliva into the ball during last week’s second Test in Hobart.

“I still completely disagree with that [decision],” du Plessis told reporters in Adelaide. “I feel like I’ve done nothing wrong... it’s not like I was trying to cheat or anything.

“For me [ball-tampering] is picking the ball, scratching the ball. Shining the ball, I think all cricketers would say, is not in the same place,” du Plessis.

“Our mouths are always full of sugar, I think it’s such a grey area in the laws of cricket. I suppose the thing that’s most disappointed us is that we’ve dominated and played exceptionally well.

“That’s taken all the shine away from that, excuse the pun.”

Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat said he would raise the subject with the International Cricket Council after several leading figures questioned the case against du Plessis.

“I just think it’s opened up a can of warms with what’s going to happen now going forward with the game,” du Plessis said. “Something like this needed to happen to create a bit more awareness around it.”

However, Du Plessis escaped a ban and is free to lead the Proteas on Thursday in the third Test against Australia in Adelaide.

Crisis-torn Australia have made six changes in a bid to stop an unprecedented series clean sweep by South Africa in the day-night Test.

Du Plessis, who was also sanctioned for ball-tampering in 2013, was fined his entire match fee but cleared to play in the third and final Test in Adelaide, which starts on Thursday.

“There are also other issues relating to fairness and interpretation of the rules,” Lorgat said. “Test match cricket is a competitive sport at the highest level. Integrity and consistent application of the rules are important for everyone.”

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