South Africa's stand-in captain Faf du Plessis has been charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) over an alleged ball-tampering offence and could be suspended for one Test match if found guilty. Du Plessis has pleaded not guilty and is seeking legal advice to contest the charge, with match referee Andy Pycroft set to hear his case.
The ICC confirmed earlier on Friday, November 18, 2016 that the batsman has been charged for breaching Article 2.2.9 of the ICC code of conduct, which relates to "changing the condition of the ball".
"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 Dave Richardson who has exercised his right to do so according to Article 3.1.3 of the Code. Du Plessis has pleaded not guilty to the charge and, as such, the matter will now be heard by Andy Pycroft of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees. Details of the hearing will be announced in due course," an ICC statement said.
"The alleged incident happened on Tuesday morning when TV footage appeared to show du Plessis applying saliva and residue from a mint or sweet, an artificial substance, to the ball in an attempt to change its condition. All level 2 breaches carry an imposition of a fine between 50% to 100% of the applicable match fee and/or up to two suspension points, and three or four demerit points."
Du Plessis, who has long been South Africa's player in charge of shining the ball, was seen by Nine network with a round, while lolly in his tongue to be licking his finger before rubbing the Kookaburra, repeating the same activity at least two more times.
Hashim Amla, who is a former Test skipper himself and a senior player in the side, led a united front at the team's press conference at the MCG calling the allegation ridiculous. It is understood that Cricket Australia has not lodged an official complaint regarding the incident.