Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Dubai, 4th day

Du Plessis pleads guilty, fined for ball-tampering

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 26, 2013

Comments: 66 | Text size: A | A

Faf du Plessis gets in position to play a shot, South Africa v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Centurion, 1st day, February 22, 2013
File photo - Faf du Plessis was fined 50% of his match fee © AFP
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South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis has pleaded guilty to the charge of ball-tampering and been fined 50% of his match fee although the team management have called the references to tampering "harsh".

The match referee David Boon said that du Plessis' actions warranted the charge being brought against him, but also said that he was satisfied that it "was not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball."

South Africa decided not to challenge the charge because of fear over a strong punishment. In their first comment on the controversy Mohammad Moosajee, the team manager, read out a statement: "As a team we proceeded not to contest it...because as per the ICC regulations a full hearing could lead to more severe punitive measure which could include a heftier fine or even a match ban."

South Africa denied claims of ball tampering on the third day when AB de Villiers said "we are not cheats," and continued to do so after the verdict was handed down. "Faf showed no intent to change the conditions of the ball. It is harsh to term it ball tampering," Moosajee read. "It was done inadvertently to dry the ball."

When Graeme Smith was asked if he thought du Plessis' actions tainted South Africa's series-levelling win in any way, his answer was limited to a single word. "No."

An ICC release said: "Before the start of fourth day's play on Saturday, David Boon of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees handed the fine to du Plessis who had pleaded guilty on Friday evening."

Boon said: "I am satisfied that the player's actions warranted the umpires applying clause 42.1.1 of the ICC Test Match Playing Conditions, including the laying of a charge under the ICC Code of Conduct against Mr du Plessis in respect of changing the condition of the ball. After discussions with Mr du Plessis, he has elected not to contest that charge, but I am also satisfied that this was not part of a deliberate and/or prolonged attempt to unfairly manipulate the condition of the ball, and that the imposition of a fine of 50 per cent of his match fee is appropriate considering the circumstances."

The incident occurred two overs after tea on the third day, before the start of the 31st over, following television visuals of du Plessis rubbing the ball near the zipper of his trouser pocket. The TV umpire brought it to the attention of the on-field umpires Ian Gould and Rod Tucker, who called Graeme Smith over for a chat and subsequently changed the ball and awarded a five-run penalty against South Africa, sanctions that are consistent with the penalty for unlawfully changing the condition of the ball.

Du Plessis was charged with an article 2.2.9 offence of the ICC Code of Conduct which relates to "changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3 of the Laws of Cricket, as modified by ICC Standard Test Match, ODI and Twenty20 International Match Playing Conditions clause 42.1". 



Some South African players - JP Duminy after play on the third day and Vernon Philander before play on the fourth - had said they thought there was nothing amiss with the condition of the ball when it was changed.

Penalties for offences such as du Plessis' under Level 2 of the ICC's code of conduct can range from a fine of 50% to 100% of a player's match fee to suspensions for one Test, two ODIs or two T20Is.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by mzm149 on (October 29, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

The worst punishment which South Africa can get is the reversal of results for this game if PCB handles the incident seriously.

Posted by Nautika on (October 29, 2013, 6:53 GMT)

@ToeCruncher- Get your facts rigth. the guy was rubbing the ball deliberately on the side pocket zipper of his trousers

Posted by rehan_abbasi on (October 29, 2013, 5:43 GMT)

Any One remember this incident when Shoaib Akhtar Was banned for 2 matches for breaching the same law 42.3 http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/131445.html

Posted by short_cover on (October 28, 2013, 19:30 GMT)

Come on folks. He did it and thats it. At this level, all these guys are concerned about is winning the game at any cost. There is no consideration of being gentlemen or this being a gentlemen's sport. So lets not fool arond it. The only thing that matters is who gets caught and who gets away with it.

Posted by ToeCruncher on (October 28, 2013, 10:30 GMT)

Rubbing the ball against the trousers is ball tampering! Wow! So no more shining of the ball, no more red streaks on white trousers, no more swing in the air. What a joke!

May as well fine both fielding teams 50% of their match fees each innings, because you are not going to stop the bowlers, slip cordon, long on/ long off from shining the ball - which by the law is altering the condition of the ball.

Really silly guys, really silly.

Posted by thE_baCk_beNcHer on (October 27, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

@ Raghzzz : SPOT ON DEAR !!!!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (October 27, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

I think Faf du Plessis should be banned for at least three games. Not only is it bizarre he thought he could get away with it it's crazy given the situation in the match at the time: Pakistan bowled out for 99 first innings, and South Africa replied with a absolutely massive lead. If you take a look at the 2nd innings scorecard for Pakistan, one guy getting a hundred in amongst bowling all the others out cheaply is pretty nornal and what you'd expect from a team battling against an innings defeat. It was just a normal game of cricket until Faf brought it into disrapute, it should make Smith furious given how good his hundred was.

Posted by Raghzzz on (October 27, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

The match referees justification or judgement to just fine instead of a ban is hardly convincing.. Being an International player, he ought to have known the rules.. How could any tampering be unintentional..

Posted by Venkeer on (October 27, 2013, 0:18 GMT)

I saw the video and its nothing but deliberate

Posted by Blal on (October 26, 2013, 22:10 GMT)

With this ruling the match referee has, I am afraid, compromised his honesty...to say the least. This is a shame.

Posted by Blal on (October 26, 2013, 22:04 GMT)

How can the match referee David Boon say it wasn't deliberate? Didn't he see the video footage of the incident? It clearly shows that Faf du Plessis rubbing the shiny half of the ball on his trouser area where there is no zip and then he changes the direction of the ball towards the rough half of the ball which he deliberately rubs on the zip. This ball tampering was not only deliberate but was pre planned by the team and its management including the skipper. Du Plessis was given the specific job with full knowledge of the entire SA team. Cricket fans would like to know from the match referee with the video footage available how he concluded that it wasn't deliberate. David Boon has put the referee system in doubt

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 19:21 GMT)

Harikhrisna there was no video footage in 2006 to show who did it umpire Darrell hair was just guessing. This is all over media

Posted by richardror on (October 26, 2013, 18:40 GMT)

No @bobmartin, it wouldn't. Because no one cares about the rankings.

Posted by Yevghenny on (October 26, 2013, 18:26 GMT)

gevelis, if fielders are allowed to rough up the ball, it artificially alters the game. They might as well be allowed to take sandpaper out and get to work straight away. That's simply not cricket!

Posted by Solid_Snake on (October 26, 2013, 17:33 GMT)

@Gevelsis:According to yr rules..spot fiixing also becomes a no big deal lol..

Posted by MEMONBHA on (October 26, 2013, 17:15 GMT)

Double standard true. If it was Pakistan or other Asian country he would be banned for 5-10 years.

Posted by TharakaV on (October 26, 2013, 16:55 GMT)

Like the ESPN commentator suggested, there should be a harsher punishment for these kind of acts. The player should've ejected from the rest of the game without a replacement. In addition, there should be 1 or 2 match suspension.

Posted by addi80 on (October 26, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

Australian took advantage of losing 4th ranking in Test with Biased Umpiring & favorable decision!! Thats not the Spirit of game..

Posted by bobmartin on (October 26, 2013, 14:54 GMT)

50% of a match fee to these guys is nothing... a spit in the ocean...If ICC really want to stamp out cheating they should dock the team a couple of points from their ICC ranking...If the team lost a ranking place because of it... that would soon make people sit up and take notice...

Posted by raughng on (October 26, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

Hmmm. How can someone be found guilty of ball tampering and yet it is ruled as "not deliberate "? Can someone explain?

Posted by jupiterlaw on (October 26, 2013, 13:41 GMT)

To his credit, when confronted, he acknowledged his dishonesty.

Posted by Gevelsis on (October 26, 2013, 13:17 GMT)

Gee some of the commentators should simmer down. He roughed up the ball a little, nobody died. It's not that big a deal - that's why the penalty is so trifling. IMHO roughing up the ball with fingers/nails should be allowed (no zippers!). It is no fun bowling 25 overs in a day in 40C heat on a flat wicket, the batsmen are at a huge advantage. It's very hard work!

Posted by jackthelad on (October 26, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

As many people have commented, it does seem a low penalty for an admitted breach of the rules; this won't be much of a deterrent for future potential 'tamperers'.

Posted by team_india_no1 on (October 26, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

Excellent article. Very mature comments.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (October 26, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

Why so low penalty. Should be no less than 1 - or 2 - match suspension.

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

Hey ICC!! here's the money(50% match fee) Now plz can I tamper the ball? Thats how it should be done.

Posted by bobbo2 on (October 26, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

This is a nothing penalty. SA should forfeit the game if it was deliberate

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 11:25 GMT)

Double standards of ICC

Posted by letsgoproteas on (October 26, 2013, 11:23 GMT)

Seems fair.

Good job for all parties involved.

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 11:18 GMT)

At the highest level, he must be aware of what he is doing. Entire SA team should have been penalized

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

Such a low penalty..... This is shame

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (October 26, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

Congratulations to the umpires for acting courageously. Congratulations, at this stage, to Faf and the South African team for not going into self-delusion mode regarding the truth of this.

Is the penalty sufficient? That will probably depend on the team you support.

It seems as if a start is being made to taking on match-fixing and ball-fixing. If the same was done for pitch-fixing, I might even continue to follow the sport with enthusiasm.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (October 26, 2013, 9:22 GMT)

5 runs seems like too small a penalty to me. I would have thought that in the order of 200 runs was more appropriate if ball tampering was proven. Maybe 400 if it is deliberate.

Posted by Unomaas on (October 26, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

We are not in a position to speculate about Faf's intention with regard to the incident but I must say that the video footage is very damning! He should have been banned for one match at least because I'm sure if it had been a Pakistani, one gets the feeling that the repercussions would have been much more severe. I'm a Saffa supporter but I'm not feeling very proud of my team at the moment!

Posted by harikrishna373 on (October 26, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

@Shujaat Afzal The same punishment was awarded to pakistan against england in 2006

Posted by heathrf1974 on (October 26, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

He was only a 50% match fine because it was believed it wasn't intentional. South Africa were leading the game comfortably.

Posted by Syed_Zeeshan_Ahmed on (October 26, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

Amazing Penalty - 50 % of match fee!!! Salute to Match referee - DC Boon for his decision on behalf of ICC. Camera has already showed that Faf Du Plessis was rubbing ball on his trouser. Few days before - Series First Test in Abu Dhabi, Adnan Akmal and Robin Peterson was also penalized for same penalty. I don't think so both incident are same cricket law. I think ball tempering is far more severe crime according to laws of cricket. I think ICC should be get rid of their double standard

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (October 26, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

Bats have evolved through out history. Now batsman use heavy bats which help them perform better. But the cricket ball remained the same. Why can't manufacturers make cricket balls with one side shiny and other side rough which will produce reverse swing. This ball can be used after 35 or 40 overs of the match. Bowlers will certainly welcome such a move.

Posted by Masking_Tape on (October 26, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

Some people are still in so much denial. It's not even funny! Go watch the video.

Posted by shoaib.rasheed on (October 26, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

Only 50% match fee? its not strange, ICC have different rules for different member boards

Posted by Nigah on (October 26, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

Shahid Afridi was banned for two matches but fuf just 50% match fee, wow such a justice with the game.

Posted by DanishNaseer on (October 26, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

@ rusty.booty : Mate you need a pair of glass .. ur eyesight seems to be very weak...

Posted by twomarktwo on (October 26, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

A bit of a joke...a player shines the ball near a zip on his trousers while his team has a first innings around 400 runs he is immediately assumed to be trying to illegally get an advantage over his opponent.... Why would anyone possibly risk being caught for ball tampering when they were 400 runs up.... Just doesn't add up. Maybe the match officials\broadcasters were a bit bored with such a one sided affair and had to spark some controversy into a dead a buried contest.

SA did well to try and put the issue behind everyone, and show that they are here to play cricket, and not be diva's.

Posted by Blythesville on (October 26, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

Wow. Compared to Ramdin? Wow.

Posted by criclover_at_cricinfo on (October 26, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

Discrimination at its peak. Such penalty is a disgrace in itself for the game.

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

If it was Pakistan bowler. He was going to get 3 matches suspension at least or may be more. This is not fair

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

captain of a national team drop him

Posted by MaheshVenkat on (October 26, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

Isn't the headline misleading? Faf didn't plead guilty. He did not protest the charges. Are they the same? Given that the officials did not make a serious charge (of prolonged deliberate ball tampering), SA might have decided not to protest. Can cricinfo clarify this? Thanks.

Posted by Mervo on (October 26, 2013, 7:21 GMT)

Well done David Boon. This is the first occasion that I can recall that something has actually been done. There has been allegations about various teams, Pakistan, England, Australia and India over the years, but they were never followed through. This was and one can only hope that there will be more occasions where the match referee has the courage to pursue the matter. National sentiments and 'politics' must be set aside.

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 7:21 GMT)

If this was a Pakistani player, the media would've high-lighted the issue and the player would've been suspended. Du Plessis should be suspendid.

Posted by InfiniteWhite on (October 26, 2013, 7:21 GMT)

Polishing ball should be banned altogether. It's unbelievably illogical to potential new fans of the game and even to a lifetime fan like me. It's seen as a normal phenomenon in cricket only. What if Beckham was allowed to rub one side of the soccer ball to make it bend more?

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 7:13 GMT)

Well played SA and well played Boon Just a question, what if any Pakistani player have done that ??

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

knowing that Faf is a limited overs captain of the safrican team, he shiukd have been penalized strongly. 50% match fee deduction is these days also due to slow over rate and showing dissent over qn umpiring decision....so Mr Boon are we implying here that this offence is not big enough to warrant a suspension for a few matches? Dear De Villiers...i am a big fan of ur batting abilities n stroke play...but u shud not have blatantly supported Du Plessis (faf wud be the last man to do ball tampering in the team) kbowing that hes committed a fault....

Posted by rusty.booty on (October 26, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

remember folks its "near the zipper" not on the zipper so cool down right decision has been made.

Posted by Papa_Tango on (October 26, 2013, 7:10 GMT)

Tell us what is deliberate and/or prolonged then?

Instead of using the clever 'and/or' switch in the statement, tell us what is the proper definition then?

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 7:07 GMT)

how was that not delebrate to boon? may faf did not know there was a zip in hos trouser. at least 1 game suspension should have been handed.

anyway fine is also a punishment and faf is very good person so that is enough to teach him a lesson.

Posted by djarian1 on (October 26, 2013, 7:05 GMT)

50% match fee fine, haha seriously?

Posted by CrICkeeet on (October 26, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

Honestly, he should b suspended... anyway, i dont xpect it 4m SA... Some r saying temparing should giv d legality... i dont agree... then how much u allowed 2 temper the ball? that is the question, and even dirty competetion could start among bowler 2 temper it as possible as... so more difficulties will come if u make it legal...

Posted by Sajjadgillani.Farooqabad.Qatar on (October 26, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

Punishment is much more less than expected. It should be more and severe

Posted by andrew-schulz on (October 26, 2013, 6:43 GMT)

Oh Boony, boony. boony. This had to be a suspension.

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

Is that all? Big deal

Posted by   on (October 26, 2013, 6:38 GMT)

Cricket is a funny game as are the rules. If a bowler lands on the danger zone twice he want be able to bowl during the rest of the innings cos it will help the bowler from the other end. But when u temper with the bowel it will help the whole team but the funny part he has been find from his match fee.. So better u find him from the match fee when a bowler lands on the danger zone and allow him to continue to bowl..... In my view 50% of the match fee is peanuts for cricketers these days

Posted by 777aditya on (October 26, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

I don't think there is really any need to read too much into this. FAF is a sorted out guy and knows better. In such situations, generally players are pressurized to plead guilty even if not. This is done, it seems, to make an example to indirectly admonish other players, thereby attempting to nip such malpractices in the bud. Pakistan, England, and other teams with good pace bowling attacks have all been charged with similar accusations before.

Posted by highveldhillbilly on (October 26, 2013, 6:26 GMT)

As a diehard South Africa supporter I'm disgusted by this. Faf has let everyone down - The test suddenly doesn't feel important at all. If we win, what an empty victory. I won't remember the test for Smith or ABs innings, nor Tahir's first 5 wicket haul

Posted by BMDeep on (October 26, 2013, 6:19 GMT)

Honestly, I feel he got away with dat> what sort of punishments are 5 runs penalty and 50 % deduction in match fees? Though he has played very less no of tests, He is the captain of south african t20 side and a lot more of expected out of him. The article doesnt state that the punishment is for intentional tampering of condition. SO, I understand that he was plead guilty for changing the condition of ball, but not tamper it intentionally. I dont want to compare this incident to that of Afridi's but I fel there is a certain need to look into the present laws and redraft them after a due thought.

Posted by sysubrceq0 on (October 26, 2013, 6:12 GMT)

Its utter ridiculous, only 50% fine of match fee? There should be atleast 1 match Ban on the player

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