Dubai: South Africa vice-captain AB de Villiers vehemently denied allegations of ball-tampering which led to his team being docked five penalty runs during the second Test against Pakistan on Friday.
Television images appeared to show South African fielder Faf du Plessis rubbing the ball against a zipper of his trouser pocket in the 31st over. The umpires were on Friday night due to decide whether to lay a charge after close of play and a subsequent hearing is likely into the incident.
South Africa were deemed to have broken rule 42.1 of the ICC’s playing conditions.
The level-two offence of changing the condition of the ball carries a fine of 50 to 100 per cent of match fees or a ban of one Test, two one-day games or two Twenty20 games, whichever comes first.
But De Villiers stressed South Africans don’t cheat.
“Honestly, we’re not the team that scratches the ball,” said De Villiers.
“We play in a fair manner. Obviously we want to swing the ball as much as you can and try to get it to reverse. We don’t cheat, it’s as simple as that,” said De Villiers, who backed Du Plessis.
“I know ‘Faffy’ very well, he’s the last man to try anything like that, it is part of his responsibility to shine the ball and I thought he did it very well.”
Pakistan are the only other team to have been penalised with five penalty runs, during the infamous Oval Test against England in 2006.
It may be recalled that at the time, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq had walked off the field in reaction to Australian umpire Darrell Hair’s decision. Hair then ruled that Pakistan had forfeited the match — the only such instance in Test cricket history.
Former Pakistan pacemen Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, allrounder Azhar Mahmoud and leg-spinner Shahid Afridi have been banned for tampering in the past.
India’s Sachin Tendulkar and England’s Mike Atherton were also suspended and fined for tampering.