‘We are not a team that scratches the ball’, says AB de Villiers

Image courtesy of: The Express Tribune

Du Plessis has been identified as the fielder who was tampering with the ball

Following allegations that South Africa tampered with the ball during day three of the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai, Proteas wicketkeeper batsman AB de Villiers has defended his side, stating that “we are not a team that scratches the ball”.

De Villiers also indicated that none of his team-mates had done anything illegal.

“We are not a team that scratches the ball,” de Villiers said. “We play in a fair manner, we want to swing the ball as much as we can, we try and get it to reverse, putting more sweat on one side and things like that, but we don’t cheat. It’s as simple as that.”

The incident occurred in the 31st over of Pakistan’s second innings when the on-field umpires, Ian Gould and Rod Tucker, called South Africa captain Graeme Smith over for a chat about the condition of the ball.

Pakistan were subsequently awarded a five-run penalty.

Speaking about the incident, South Africa all-rounder Jean Paul (JP) Duminy stated that he “heard when the umpires called Graeme and Faf together, that there was some evidence of alteration to the condition of the ball”.

Duminy also noted that neither him nor the team know “how conclusive the evidence was”.

He added that the entire team “didn’t think there was anything wrong with the ball, and the issue was at the umpires’ discretion and we have to accept it”.

Faf du Plessis has been identified as the culprit behind the tampering, but de Villiers was quick to defend his team-mate, stating that he was the “last man on the field who will try anything like that”.

“I know Faf very well,” de Villiers said. “He is the last man on the field who will try anything like that.

“It is part of his responsibility to shine the ball, in order to get it swing, and look after it. It is not an easy job and I thought he did a very good job of it.”

De Villiers added that nobody knew why Pakistan had been awarded five extra runs.

“I don’t even know where the message came from,” de Villiers said. “There were no warnings, no talk of it. I still don’t know the facts.”

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