Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Dubai, 4th day October 26, 2013

Du Plessis pleads guilty, fined for ball-tampering

ESPNcricinfo staff

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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Muhammad 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.

  • Nauman 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

  • rehan 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

  • Irfan 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.

  • Brett 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.

  • Aram on October 27, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    @ Raghzzz : SPOT ON DEAR !!!!

  • j 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.

  • Raghav 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..

  • Venkata on October 27, 2013, 0:18 GMT

    I saw the video and its nothing but deliberate

  • Saif on October 26, 2013, 22:10 GMT

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

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