How South African cricket officials swept ball-tampering under the rug as the country’s stars were smashed THREE times – even threatening a TV station not to run footage
- Two former South African cricketers found guilty of ball-tampering
- Once captain Faf du Plessus cheated twice – in 2013 and then in 2016
- The terrifyingly quick Vernon Philander also struck in 2014 in Galle against Sri Lanka
- Both were fined at the time of the offence, in stark contrast to Australian players
- So rubbed out skipper Steve Smith and David Warner for 12 months in 2018
- Batsman Cameron Bancroft banned for nine months after ‘Sandpapergate’
When it comes to ball-tampering on a cricket pitch, Australia and South Africa are not on the same page – especially when it comes to punishing guilty players.
The two nations meet on Saturday in the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, with tensions running high after Australians Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned from the game for their roles in the 2018 Sandpapergate cheating scandal.
In a feature compiled by ESPN, it was revealed that the Proteas team management previously swept cases of ball-tampering under the carpet when it involved two players – in stark contrast to the way Cricket Australia handled their trio.
Former captain Faf du Plessis was twice found guilty of the offence, in 2013 against Pakistan, then three years later in Adelaide against Australia, when he used mints to change the shape of the ball.
Former Proteas skipper Faf du Plessus was found guilty of ball-tampering twice in his career – in 2013 against Pakistan and then in 2016 against Australia
Vernon Philander was also arrested in 2014 after a Test against Sri Lanka in Galle – like Du Plessis he was only fined by Cricket South Africa
Retired pace bowler Vernon Philander was also caught in 2014 after a Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
In Philander’s case, Cricket South Africa (CSA) even threatened a television broadcaster not to broadcast footage of the quick cutting of the ball with his thumbnail.
They ignored the threat, with Philander fined 75 per cent of his match fee at the time for “altering the condition of the ball”.
Compare the paltry punishment to Steve Smith and David Warner, who were both banned from the sport for 12 months after Sandpapergate in Cape Town.
Batsman Cameron Bancroft – who was caught on camera using sandpaper – was also suspended for nine months, effectively ending his Test career.
Following ‘Sandpapergate’ in Cape Town, David Warner was suspended from first-class cricket for 12 months by Cricket Australia
The same punishment was meted out to then Australian skipper Steve Smith as CA came down hard on the high-profile pair
Batsman Cameron Bancroft (pictured left) – who was caught on camera sandpapering in Cape Town and was suspended for nine months – the move effectively ended his Test career
Warner was also issued a lifetime managerial ban by Cricket Australia, as he was deemed the instigator of the saga.
Smith was stripped of the Australian captaincy – but has since filled in when current skipper Pat Cummins is injured.
It has left many supporters wondering why Warner remains the scapegoat, with players seemingly receiving disparate treatment for the same offence.
The two nations have not met in a Test match since the scandal in 2018 – and given Australia are ranked first in Tests, with South Africa third, the series looms as an exciting and hard-fought contest.
The game on Saturday from the Gabba in Brisbane starts at 11.20am local time, with further tests in Melbourne (December 26-30) and Sydney (January 4-8).