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Du Plessis loses ball-tampering appeal but free to play first SL Test

DUBAI: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has lost his appeal against a ball-tampering conviction, but will be free to play in the first Test against Sri Lanka starting on Boxing Day.

Du Plessis was found guilty by match referee Andy Pycroft of changing the condition of the ball after appearing to use saliva tainted by a mint in his mouth to shine it during the second Test against Australia at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart last month.

South Africa won the Test and the series 2-1, but the victory was overshadowed by what du Plessis felt was an unjust targeting of him.

The skipper was fined his entire match fee and had three demerit points added to his record.

If a player accumulates four-to-seven demerit points within a two-year period they are converted into two suspension points, which brings a ban for one Test or two One-day Internationals or two Twenty20 Internationals.

Du Plessis appealed against his punishment on Monday, questioning whether his actions changed the condition of the ball at all.

The Chair of the ICC’s Code of Conduct Commission, Michael Beloff, upheld the verdict, but stopped short of increasing the sanction to an automatic one-match ban which would have been within his remit.

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive officer Dave Richardson welcomed the decision.

“It is the duty of the ICC to ensure fair play on the cricket field,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “Although it was not picked up by the umpires at the time, when the incident came to our attention subsequently, we felt it was our responsibility to lay a charge in this case because the ICC can’t let such an obvious breach of this Law pass without taking any action.

“We are pleased that both the match referee and Mr Beloff QC have agreed with our interpretation of the Laws and hope that this serves as a deterrent to all players not to engage in this sort of unfair practice in the future.”

Du Plessis, 32, was last week confirmed as South Africa’s new permanent captain after A.B. de Villiers resigned having missed three Test series in a row due to an elbow injury.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) accepted the decision.

“We are satisfied with the matter being given due consideration,” it said in a statement released from Johannesburg.

But du Plessis had said last month that the original sanction risked opening ‘a can of worms’ and accused the ICC of “using him as a scapegoat”.

He received backing from leading cricket figures, including Australia captain Steve Smith.

“I feel like I’ve done nothing wrong,” du Plessis had told reporters in Adelaide last month. “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.”

Courtesy : Dawn News

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