Faf wants focus on cricket

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Du Plessis was fined 100% of his Hobart match fee after being found guilty of ball-tampering by an ICC panel on Tuesday after footage emerged from the second Test that showed him applying saliva to the ball with a mint in his mouth.

The skipper is adamant he's no cheat and maintained his innocence and stated that there’s a massive difference between ball tampering and ball shining.

Flanked by CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat, who described “Lollygate” as unprecedented case and wanted the rules to be “defined more clearly”, Du Plessis sat calmly and even offered up a few jokes saying “all the attention was pretty cool” to ease the tension in a packed out media room.

However, throughout the South African skipper’s protestations of innocence the over-riding factor, though, which emerged was the deep disappointment Du Plessis was feeling in regards to all the focus being on him instead of his team’s historic achievements here in Australia.

The Proteas are the first team to win three consecutive Test series here since the legendary West Indies teams of the 1980’s and also stand the chance to re-write the record books by becoming the first side to whitewash the Aussies 3-0 in a Test series on home soil.

“As you know yesterday was the hearing ... I still completely disagree with [the verdict],” he said. “I felt like I’ve done nothing wrong.

“It’s not like I was trying to cheat or anything, I was shining the ball. It’s something that all cricketers do. Our mouths are always full of sugar, I think it’s such a grey area in the laws of cricket.

“I suppose the thing that’s most disappointed us is that we’ve dominated and played exceptionally well. That’s taken all the shine away from that, excuse the pun.”

There have been suggestions in local circles that Du Plessis may have replaced England fast bowler Stuart Broad, who was regarded as a “blatant cheat” on the 2013 Ashes tour here, as the Australian public’s Enemy No 1 and would be subjected to abuse on and off the field during the upcoming Test.

Du Plessis, though, definitely doesn’t believe there will be too much chatter about the incident out in the middle especially as he believes the Australians shine the ball in a similar manner.

"The Aussies won't talk about it at all because they know it's part of their team as well," he said.

Following Du Plessis and Lorgat into the press room, the Australian captain Steve Smith did certainly not reject any of his counterpart’s claims.

"Every team around the world shines the cricket ball," Smith told reporters.

"I have seen Faf's comments in his press conference. And look, from my point of view, and I make it very clear that we haven't come out and said anything about Faf or about how he was shining the ball or anything like that.

"So look, we along with every other team around the world, shine the ball the same way."

It is for this reason that Lorgat has appealed to the ICC for the greater clarity on this issue going forward.

"At this stage we've advised Faf to reserve his position with regard to the match referee's finding and wait for the full reasons of his decision before deciding his next step," Lorgat said. "Very understable, Faf is obviously disappointed by the decision and I can fully understand.

"In fairness to both him and the ICC, this is an unprecedented case involving unique issues of policy, science and performance that need to be carefully considered at the highest levels of the game. There are also issues relating to fair and just process, interpretation of the rules, and importantly, the consistent application of the Code of Conduct that needs to be considered.

"CSA believes that the Laws of the game do not currently define the term 'artificial substance', leaving room for inconsistent application of the rules. For instance, the Laws currently prevent the use of 'artificial substances' to polish the ball, yet artificial cotton fibres from playing kit can be used to shine the ball.

"Players also regularly chew gum when applying saliva to the ball, or ingest sugary drinks and sweets during short breaks in play before shining the ball. No action is taken in such circumstances by the umpires," the CSA chief added.

Independent Media

Proteas captain Faf Du Plessis has been advised by Cricket South Africa to hold back appealing the International Cricket Council's ball tampering verdict.

Original source: Faf wants focus on cricket

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