South Africa’s Faf du Plessis has been fined 50 per cent of his match fee after pleading guilty to tampering with the ball during the ongoing second Test against Pakistan in Dubai, the ICC said on Saturday.
South Africa were penalised five runs and umpires ordered the ball to be changed on Friday, and match referee David Boon of Australia swiftly summoned du Plessis.
“Du Plessis is fined 50 per cent of his match fee after breaching ICC code of conduct on Friday,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) said.
The 29-year-old is the first South African to be charged with ball tampering.
The incident took place in the 31st over of Pakistan’s second innings on Friday afternoon when du Plessis was seen on television rubbing the ball in the vicinity of the zip of his trouser pocket, the ICC said.
Boon said: “After discussions with 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 ICC statement said: “The TV umpire Paul Reiffel brought this to the notice of the on-field umpires who, in accordance with clause 42.1.1 of the ICC Test match playing conditions, which deals with the match ball – changing its condition – replaced the ball, awarded five penalty runs to Pakistan and reported du Plessis.”
South African vice captain AB de Villiers backed du Plessis on Friday: “Honestly, we’re not the team that scratches the ball.
“We play in a fair manner. Obviously we want to swing the ball as much as you can and try to get it to reverse. We don’t cheat, it’s as simple as that.
“I know ‘Faffy’ very well, he’s the last man to try anything like that, it is part of his responsibility to shine the ball and I thought he did it very well.”
Pakistan’s Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Azhar Mahmood and Shahid Afridi, India’s Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, and England’s Michael Atherton have been punished over ball tampering in the past.
Previously Pakistan were the only team docked five penalty runs for tampering, during the Oval Test against England in 2006.