Proteas stand-in skipper Faf du Plessis has been charged by the ICC with a level 2 offence for ball-tampering.
Du Plessis has pleaded not guilty and is seeking legal advice to contest the charge.
The ICC confirmed in a statement on Friday that he may have breached Article 2.2.9 of the ICC Code of Conduct, ‘after television footage appeared to show him applying an artificial substance to the ball during the fourth day’s play in the second Test in Hobart’.
The statement said: ‘The 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.’
Level 2 breaches of the Code of Conduct carry a penalty of a fine of 50-100% of the match fee and/or up to two suspension points, and three or four demerit points.
Two suspension points amount to a one-Test ban, but it remains to be seen whether or not that affects his participation in next week’s Adelaide day-night match.
The charge has been laid by ICC chief executive David Richardson. The matter will be heard by match referee Andy Pycroft.
This isn’t the first time Du Plessis has landed himself in hot water for ball tampering, after he was fined 50% of his match fee back in October 2013 for rubbing the ball on a trouser zip during a Test against Pakistan.
CSA have since responded themselves, and will be providing the necessary support, including legal representation, to aid Du Plessis to defend the charge made against him.
‘We have asked the ICC to consider the time needed for us to consult and appoint legal representation and make the necessary logistical arrangements when setting a date for the hearing,’ commented CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat. ‘We are now waiting on the ICC to inform us of the date for the hearing.’