Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Dubai, 3rd day October 25, 2013

'We don't cheat' - AB de Villiers


South Africa are claiming innocence over the ball-tampering penalty they were hit with after the 30th over of Pakistan's second innings on the third day in Dubai. AB de Villiers, speaking to reporters after play, said South Africa "are not a team that scratches the ball" and did not believe any one of his team-mates had done anything wrong.

The incident occurred two overs after tea, following television visuals of Faf du Plessis rubbing the ball allegedly on the zipper of his trouser pocket. The umpires Ian Gould and Rod Tucker 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 under law 42.3 (playing conditions law 42.1), when the identity of the player who unlawfully changed the condition of the ball has been determined.

"We are not a team that scratches the ball," de Villiers said at the post-match conference. "We play in a fair manner, we want to swing the ball as much as we can, we try and get it to reverse, putting more sweat on one side and things like that, but we don't cheat. It's as simple as that."

Du Plessis was also called to the on-field meeting between Smith and the umpires. JP Duminy said he "heard when the umpires called Graeme and Faf together, that there was some evidence of alteration to the condition of the ball." Duminy said the team did not know "how conclusive the evidence was". He further stated that the team "didn't think there was anything wrong with the ball, and the issue was at the umpires' discretion and we have to accept it."

De Villiers, when asked at the press conference if there was anything he could say about du Plessis' actions, defended his team-mate.

"I know Faf very well. He is the last man on the field who will try anything like that," de Villiers said. "It is part of his responsibility to shine the ball, in order to get it swing, and look after it. It is not an easy job and I thought he did a very good job of it."

When the penalty runs were awarded, the South African team's body language did not change at all and they continued the match with the replacement ball without any protest. De Villiers said there was uncertainty as to what they were being penalised for: "I don't even know where the message came from. There were no warnings, no talk of it. I still don't know the facts."

This is the first time South Africa have been accused of ball-tampering, although they have been at the receiving end of incidents like the 1994 "dirt-in-the-pocket affair" involving Mike Atherton and the allegations against Sachin Tendulkar in 2001. In 2010, television visuals showed Stuart Broad and James Anderson allegedly rubbing the ball on the ground with their spikes in Cape Town, but no charges were laid.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 28, 2013, 18:41 GMT

    Morally Pakistan has won the 2nd test; no matter what result says. This is important especially when we need to examine SA Ist innings bowling as well; and there lies strong possibility to find more evidences of unfair play by SA. The decision of ICC is really a surprise to not charge VD Philander at-all while other culprit F du Plessis was considered at the best leniency. I believe the day is not far when ICC's double standards against sub-continental teams may result in formation of an independent, neutral and even more stronger international cricketing organisation led by Pakistan. India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. West Indies and Zimbabwe can be other aspirants to join the strong and crowd pulling cricket block.

  • Dummy4 on October 28, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    Ball tampering has been going on for years...And it will keep going on.....

  • fahid on October 28, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    Making mistake deliberately is not good but to admit it is a good thing at least, now what devillier will say?

  • Dummy4 on October 27, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    Obviously you do cheat otherwise why on earth would you do that?

  • mansoor on October 27, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    "we dont cheat" gets caught the next day LOL, sad statement

  • VaRUN on October 27, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    "I know Faf very well. He is the last man on the field who will try anything like that," - that only means all the players have done it at some point!!

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    This is a charity what he did ... if this was a pakistani player i would see a different side of SA and also ICC.

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    50 percent of the match fee...Not bad huh...So guys when am I gonna see more zips in the trousers????after all it is just a small fee is'nt it....A complete disgrace to the game of cricket

  • RAJESH on October 26, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    This is a case of "we have done it, but unintentionally, we are not going to make lot of fuss about it, there was a mistake"

  • Dhushan on October 26, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    I wonder what De Villiers has to say now

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