South Africa’s skipper Faf du Plessis has been charged with ball tampering by the International Cricket Council (ICC) during the second test at Hobart against Australia and is in danger of missing the next test as a repercussion of the same offence.

The ICC believes du Plessis should be held responsible after reviewing television footage of him applying saliva to the ball when he had a lolly in his mouth.

The charge relates to changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3 and has been laid by the ICC Chief Executive David Richardson who has exercised his right to do so,” the ICC said in a statement.

Faf du Plessis seen rubbing the ball with a lolly in his mouth.
Faf du Plessis seen rubbing the ball with a lolly in his mouth.

“Du Plessis has pleaded not guilty to the charge … Details of the hearing will be announced in due course,” the governing body added.

Not it remains for match referee Andy Pycroft to decide whether the stand-in skipper for the injured AB de Villiers can play in the day/night Test next week in Adelaide.

Du Plessis can be fined between 50 per cent to 100 per cent of his match fee and/or up to two suspension points and four demerit points for the charged. The two suspension points and/or the four demerit point equate to a one Test match ban and can be served concurrently.

The 32-year old has been accused of ball tampering in the past as well, for rubbing the ball against his trouser zipper in 2013 during a Test match against Pakistan, post which he was fined 50% of his match fee.

The Proteas’ are however standing by their skipper, whom they believe has done nothing wrong.

“The reason everyone is here is to stand together, really, and to show solidarity to something … we thought was actually a joke,” South African star Hashim Amla was quoted as saying to the Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s not April, but the allegation against Faf was … a really ridiculous thing. As a team, we’re standing strong, we’ve done nothing wrong. It’s basically a joke.”

“Whether it is or not [under investigation], we’ve done nothing wrong and I know Faf has done absolutely nothing wrong.

“I chew bubblegum while I’m on the field. You want me to brush my teeth after lunch? We’re standing out on the field for two hours … there was no malicious intent whatsoever. Is it proven or what? Because that’s something that is really new to us. I’ve had sweets in my mouth, bubblegum in my mouth, biltong, nuts. I’m not sure what the big deal is. To a lot of people, it’s sounding more like sour sweets,”  the opener added.

South Africa’s win in the second Test by an innings and 80 runs means that they have already won the three-match series with a game in hand.

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