Jason Gillespie says the ‘lollygate’ incident has been blown out of proportion, and SA’s unity in the face of adversity has been impressive.
The former Australian paceman and Yorkshire coach has come to South Africa’s aid, not only for the scandal that has seen skipper Faf du Plessis slapped with a Level 2 offence for ‘changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3’ during the second Test in Hobart, but he also supports the way the Proteas rallied behind their skipper.
‘At the outset, I want to dismiss all the fuss around sweets, saliva and shining a cricket ball as a storm in a lolly bag,’ he said in a column for Cricket Australia.
‘I’m happy to admit that I am no academic expert on the impact that sugar can have on the aerodynamics of fast bowling but I’ve played and coached enough cricket to know that the whole thing is a bit ridiculous.
‘When I was playing, we used to dig into the lolly snakes to keep energy up during a long bowling stint and I’m sure at some stages I would have shined the ball shortly after eating one (or three) without a second thought.’
Gillespie, understandably disappointed by Australia’s performance over the past two Tests, is even more disappointed that this issue has surfaced.
‘In county cricket you here all sorts of theories, but from my experience the players that do the best are the consistent performers – the blokes who can bowl a disciplined line and length for as long as possible, and the batsmen who are patient and stick to their process.
‘They are the ones who find success, not the ones who have a lot of theories on what’s the best way of shining a cricket ball with a sweet in their mouth.’
The 41-year-old, who took 259 wickets for the Baggy Greens, was impressed by the manner in which the rest of the team stood together in support of Du Plessis.
‘What did strike me as impressive during that whole saga, which has been driven by the ICC and has nothing to do with the Australian team making any accusations or complaints, was the solidarity the South Africans showed for their captain Faf du Plessis.
‘They obviously think it’s a load of garbage and have stood firm, as a team and in support of their skipper.’
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