Du Plessis loses appeal against ball-tampering verdict

South African captain’s appeal rejected by judicial commissioner Michael Beloff

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has lost his appeal against a charge of ball-tampering, which stemmed from the recent second Test in Hobart, against Australia.

The good news‚ for him and South Africa’s supporters‚ is he has not been banned for the first test against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park on Monday. Instead‚ Du Plessis’ original punishment of a fine and three demerit points has been upheld.

Du Plessis was found guilty by match referee Andy Pycroft of changing the condition of the ball after being caught on camera applying saliva to the ball with a mint in his mouth The 32-year-old was last month fined his full match fee and given three demerit points.

Du Plessis maintained his innocence and after feeling aggrieved at the verdict decided to challenge it, but the ICC’s independent commissioner Michael Beloff QC upheld the decision.

A statement on the ICC’s official website read: “Under the provisions of the ICC Code of Conduct, Mr Du Plessis was represented by legal counsel in the appeal hearing convened in Dubai on Monday that lasted two-and-a-half hours, which the player himself joined via video link.

“Having carefully considered the legal submissions made by the player and the ICC, Mr Beloff QC confirmed that Du Plessis was guilty of breaching Article 2.2.9 and that the original sanction of 100 per cent of his match fee was appropriate.” The ICC chief executive David Richardson said: “It is the duty of the ICC to ensure fair play on the cricket field.

“Although it was not picked up by the umpires at the time, when the incident came to our attention subsequently, we felt it was our responsibility to lay a charge in this case because the ICC can’t let such an obvious breach of this law pass without taking any action.”

Cricket South Africa has accepted the decision and chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement: “We are satisfied with the matter being given due consideration by a person independent of the ICC. Both CSA and Faf believed that this appeal was imperative considering the important principles at stake. “In our view, the fact that Mr Beloff deliberated for some time after hearing complex legal arguments from both sides demonstrates that this matter does indeed require further consideration and clarification from the ICC and the MCC. “Notwithstanding the outcome of the appeal and Mr Beloff’s helpful rulings on the matter, we hope that further reviews of the Code of Conduct and the laws of the game takes place as players will no doubt continue to seek clarification as to what is or is not permissible in the light of this case.”

Three years ago, Du Plessis was fined 50 per cent of his match fee when he rubbed the ball on the zip of his trouser pocket.

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