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"It's not like I was trying to cheat or anything"


UPDATED: The ball-tampering saga that has dogged Faf du Plessis over the past week is set to continue, with South Africa’s skipper hoping to appeal his guilty verdict.

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Du Plessis will play the day-night Test despite being found guilty of ball tampering for the second time in a tick over three years.

He avoided suspension but was docked 100 per cent of his match fee after a three-hour International Cricket Council (ICC) hearing at Adelaide Oval yesterday.

South African’s cricket camp has summoned its legal team to decide whether their captain will appeal.

“The verdict was that I was guilty,” du Plessis told reporters in Adelaide today.

“I still completely disagree with that. I felt like I have done nothing wrong… It’s not like I was trying to cheat or anything.”

Footage emerged last week from the second Test of du Plessis using saliva to shine the ball with a mint in his mouth.

Du Plessis wishes to appeal the verdict and fine of approximately $2500, even though that means risking a tougher penalty – including a potential one-Test ban.

The appeal almost certainly won’t be heard before the dead-rubber third Test between Australia and South Africa starts in Adelaide on Thursday.

Du Plessis said he’s made been a world cricket “scapegoat”, insisting he did nothing wrong.

Every single team I have played in does the same thing

“I just ask for everyone to be treated the same way,” he said.

“With ball tampering, it’s a real negative … the term cheat has been thrown around and that is something I do not take lightly.

“I did nothing wrong. I was shining the cricket ball … and every single team I have played in does the same thing.”

Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the squad will consult further with lawyers before deciding whether to appeal the guilty verdict.

Lorgat described it as an unprecedented case and cited an inconsistent application of the rules regarding ball shining.

“We want to define the rules more carefully,” Lorgat said.

Proteas coach Russell Domingo earlier suggested the du Plessis case could be a watershed moment for cricket’s rules regarding ball tampering.

Speaking prior to the hearing, Domingo insisted using mints or lollies to assist shining the ball was common practice.

Former Australia batsman and current national selector Mark Waugh admitted it would be difficult to police.

“I mean, where does it stop? Are you going to stop players chewing chewing gum, eating lollies, putting sunscreen on, putting product in their hair?” Waugh said on Fox Sports’ Inside Cricket.

“It did (look obvious). You had to fine him for that. It was so obvious it was ridiculous. He basically put the lolly on top of the ball, didn’t he?

“It’s not a good look from the captain.”

Former Test paceman Stuart Clark, speaking alongside Waugh, dubbed it “madness” and a “ridiculous fine”.

“It’s opened up a whole can of worms,” Clark said.

“Because what happens now? There’ll be every camera, every time someone shines the ball, someone will be looking.

“There’ll be another camera. There’ll be people on Twitter. It’ll be in all the social media pages …”

But former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock agreed with the fine, while claiming the whole saga would have emboldened the Proteas.

“Obviously being the captain, the severity of it (the punishment) tends to be a little bit stronger,” Pollock said.

“But I think he’ll still be happy he can get out there and play at Adelaide Oval.

“I think it will actually regroup them and give them an extra little bit of focus.

“They’ll be dead keen with everything that’s gone on to put in a quality performance.

“They want to try to win this Test series 3-0. They’ve talked about it so far and it will give them them a little bit more motivation.

“It’s key, though, that Faf will be allowed to play. He’s captained the side well, he’s batted pretty well on this tour so I think he’s very much a key component of their side.”

Probably in this case in particular, we drew the line

But du Plessis received no sympathy from his fellow South African Dave Richardson, with the ICC boss describing his ball tampering from the Hobart Test as “pretty obvious”.

Richardson said the governing body needed to draw a line in the sand over the issue.

“Probably in this case in particular, we drew the line,” ICC chief executive Richardson told the Nine Network today.

“We said, ‘we need to charge’ because in our eyes anyway it was pretty obvious that he was using the residue from the sweet directly on the ball.

“I think the bottom line is if you want to change the condition of the ball by polishing it, in other words improving it, keeping it, retaining its condition, do so, but don’t use any artificial substance.”

Richardson, a former South African wicketkeeper, also condemned Proteas officials for their involvement in ugly scenes at Adelaide airport on Monday, when security official Zunaid Wadee physically clashed with Nine Network reporter Will Crouch.

Richardson said it was the first time he had seen the footage.

“Well, security guards tend to be a bit vicious on occasions,” he said.

“The whole thing is unnecessary, really.

“It’s been a great series from South Africa’s point of view it will be a pity if the third Test (ruins) a great occasion in Adelaide coming up.”

Richardson is in Sydney to present Australia’s women’s team their world championship trophy at the Southern Stars’ third one-day international against South Africa at North Sydney Oval.

Sayers fails to make final cut

Australia will unleash three debutants in the day-night Test, with Jackson Bird edging Redback Chadd Sayers to grab the final berth in the XI.

Steve Smith named his side this afternoon, confirming Bird will be recalled for the third Test against South Africa in Adelaide.

Batsmen Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson will make their Test debuts against the Proteas.

Not since 2011, when David Warner, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson all received their baggy greens, has Australia blooded so many debutants in a Test.

“We’ve obviously made a lot of changes,” Smith said.

“I’m happy with the team that I’ve got.

“This series has been disappointing the way it has gone for us but I’m actually really excited about the young guys coming into the group.

“I’ve almost felt a little shift over the last few days in attitude and energy from what the new guys have brought in.”

Australia, facing their first whitewash in a home Test series since federation, will have used a total of 19 players in the three-match series.

South Africa recorded crushing victories in Perth and Hobart.

Australia XI: David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (capt), Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.

Ponting “open” to selector’s role

Meanwhile, Ricky Ponting says he is open to considering Australian cricket’s vacant chairman of selectors position or a coaching role with the national team.

Admitting he has more time on his hands after stepping aside as coach of IPL franchise Mumbai Indians, Ponting says he is eager to “get involved somewhere” but has yet to formally open discussions with Cricket Australia.

Former Test skipper Ponting has been touted as a strong potential candidate for the selection charman role vacated by Rod Marsh following the Australian team’s disastrous run of Test losses.

“I’ve got two more months now that I wouldn’t normally have with Mumbai not happening anymore,” Ponting told AAP during the World Cup of Golf celebrity pro-am in Melbourne today.

“There’s a bit more time on our hands than I had before.”

I’d consider it and have a think about it, but I’d have to talk to my family

The 41-year-old said considerable time spent on the road was an obstacle he’d need to ponder carefully before putting his hand up for the selection position.

“Look, I haven’t been asked anything about that job and it’s a huge commitment; a massive time commitment,” said Ponting.

“I’d consider it and have a think about it, but I’d have to talk to my family about it as well.

“With that role, you’re probably on the road for six or seven months of the year and I’ve done that for 20 years.”

The retired Test batsman has already been in talks with Cricket Australia about dipping his toe into national team coaching by taking the reins for the three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka in February.

“I’ve said to Cricket Australia from the moment I’ve finished I’m happy to get involved somewhere and help out where I can,” said Ponting.

“It’s an interesting one… the Test team will be in India at the time, so whoever coaches that (T20) team will have a young group of guys.”

As for whether there could be a regular national team coaching gig, Ponting said “full-time coaching roles for me around the Aussie team are something that we need to work through and talk about so we’ll see what happens there”.

The former skipper dismissed talk the Australian Test team had developed culture problems, despite it’s horror run of defeat both abroad and at home.

“The culture is fine… don’t worry about the culture. Those questions are always asked when the team’s not playing well,” he said.

“The last few weeks the team has left itself open for criticism because the results haven’t gone their way. With (coach) Darren Lehmann and (captain) Steve Smith … it’ll be fine.”


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