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South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to implement stricter sanctions against players found guilty of ball tampering.
Du Plessis has been found guilty of ball tampering on two occasions in 2013 and 2016, but his comments came just prior to South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka.
In their recent series against the West Indies, Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was charged with ball tampering and banned for one Test, which him miss the third Test in Barbados.
In addition to this, Chandimal, Sri Lanka head coach Chandika Hathurusingha and team manager Asanka Gurusinha have admitted to violating the part of the ICC’s code of conduct that relates to “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”.
Chandimal, Hathurusingha and Gurusinha were all charged with a level 3 offence by ICC chief executive David Richardson after Sri Lanka refused to take to the field on the third day of the second Test against the West Indies in St Lucia. As a result of their actions, play was suspended for two hours.
As a result, they could all be banned for two to four Tests or four to eight limited overs matches when their hearing takes place on July 10.
Should they be banned for two Tests, Sri Lanka will be without a captain, head coach and manager for the entire Test series against the Proteas.
When asked about his thoughts on ball tampering, Du Plessis was quoted by ESPNcricinfo as saying: “They have to. It’s happening too often. They definitely need to do that as quickly as possible. I know they met a while ago but it doesn’t look like anything has changed. It’s still the same rules and stuff, so they need to change that. The penalties need to be harsher for ball tampering.”
Du Plessis also said that the laws against ball tampering need to become a lot clearer, while adding that the ICC need to clarify what constitutes as an “aritifical substance”.
“I have probably said it too much but there are too many grey areas when it comes to the ICC and the rules,” he said. “One, you want clarity and, two, you want consistency and that’s definitely something that’s not been part of that body of laws for a while now.
“There’s a lot of captains that have been speaking about it for a lot of years so, hopefully, when they do bring in all these new things there will be a lot of clarity and, most importantly, consistency for all teams.”
Meanwhile, Du Plessis admitted that South Africa will be tested by the spin-friendly conditions in Sri Lanka.
“I am expecting tough conditions,” he said. “I think Sri Lanka will look at it on paper and think we’ve got a better side on paper and I think they will try and make it as dry as possible and spin as much as possible.
“It will be a nice opportunity to test ourselves in tough conditions. There were a lot of lessons learnt by us [in India]. You have to go through something like that to pick your game apart, start from scratch and look at how you get better.”
With AB de Villiers having retired from international cricket, Du Plessis hinted that Temba Bavuma could fill his spot in the side.
“AB has only played the last one or two series for this Test team, so he has actually not been playing for a while,” he said. “It will be a nice opportunity for Temba [Bavuma] or somebody else to put his peg in the ground and make the position his own again.”
While South Africa have chosen four seamers and three specialist spinners for the tour, Du Plessis made it clear that he will still lean on the pace attack to inflict most of the damage.
“No matter what the conditions are, a big strength of our team will always be our fast bowlers, especially the personnel we have; [Dale] Steyn, Kagiso [Rabada] and Vernon [Philander] are all wicket-taking bowlers,” he said. “Those three have proven they can do it in any conditions.
“Dale has got a fantastic record in the subcontinent and KG [Rabada] is gold. He will be able to do anything, and we’ve got Keshav [Maharaj]. If we want to and there’s an opportunity to, because the conditions are really bad, then we can look at a second spinner.”