TELFORD VICE in Dunedin
FAF du Plessis is confused by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) lack of action over the behaviour of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith in the Bangalore test last week.
Kohli’s escalating aggression during the match reached tipping point after Smith tried to seek visual advice from the Australian dressingroom on whether he should opt for a review after being given out leg-before.
Kohli rushed towards the umpires, Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth, screaming his objection to Smith’s transgression of the regulations with almost comical menace.
By then, Llong had admonished Smith, who was leaving the ground.
Later, Kohli stopped just short of accusing Smith, who admitted his wrongdoing, of cheating.
The ICC tends to take a dim view of displays of poor conduct, but not this time.
“We have just witnessed a magnificent game of test cricket where players from both teams gave their all and emotions were running high during and after the match,” a release quoted chief executive David Richardson as saying.
“We would encourage both teams to focus their energies on the third test in Ranchi.
Ahead of that, the match referee will bring both captains together to remind them of their responsibilities to the game.”
Did that surprise Du Plessis, considering Richardson took it upon himself to charge South Africa’s captain with ball-tampering during the tour to Australia in November?
“I was (surprised), purely from the reason of what I went through for something I feel was a lot smaller and a lot less … whatever you want to call it,” Du Plessis said after the last day of the first test against New Zealand at University Oval was washed out on Sunday.
Richardson took action after footage emerged of Du Plessis shining the ball using fingers that he had wet with spit taken from his mouth, in which what looked like a sweet was clearly visible.
Du Plessis was found guilty of contravening the prohibition on using artificial substances to polish the ball, and fined half his match fee and docked three demerit points.
He lost an appeal against the conviction, and will be banned if he earns one more demerit point in the two years after the sentence was handed down.
Du Plessis saw inconsistencies in the way the ICC dealt with him compared to Kohli and Smith.
“It was different, and I’m surprised by the way it happened,” Du Plessis said.
“Maybe it’s just because I speak from a personal point of view and I felt that I was treated very harsh, and when you see something like that you hope that it would be exactly the same.”
But he was confident that the monster that “Mintgate” became – largely because of Du Plessis’ refusal to accept his guilt and the fuel that represented to the tabloid sections of the television and print media – would not be repeated in New Zealand.
“Us and New Zealand are very similar in the way we play,” Du Plessis said.
“We respect each other on and off the field and we play a similar brand of cricket.
“We don’t see that the way you carry on on the field will have an effect on the outcome.
“When you play teams like India and Australia that can happen and it’s easy to see how that can blow up.
“For me it’s been good to be on the other side of it and to see how things unfold.
“It would have been interesting to see how the Australian media would have reacted to me doing that.”
Whether Du Plessis was talking about Smith’s or Kohli’s behaviour was not clear.