Sport

Faf du Plessis feels sorry for Smith's one-year ban

Faf du Plessis feels sorry for Smith's one-year ban”

CA CEO James Sutherland announced this morning that captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft were sent home from South Africa in disgrace.

Teammates are fuming at Warner, who reportedly told Cricket Australia investigators that the bowlers were aware of the ball tampering plot.

"Usually it's green wickets and spicy in the beginning but now the big challenge in this series is coming in when the ball's tailing around, whether that's after 30 overs or 50 overs, but that's the nature [of it]". It's just unheard of for a South African series where the ball is [reversing] this much.

While he has undoubtedly been superb in controlling emotions in the Proteas changeroom, Du Plessis has also been outstanding in his dealings with the voracious media contingent that has followed this series, and which has grown accustomed to being fed fresh, raw meat every day.

"It's harsh for people to judge when they don't have evidence", he said, back-pedalling somewhat.

"Whether it was really good skill in trying to bounce the ball in the right places to get it roughed up, or whether it was someone working the ball".

"I think the ICC review is overdue".

"We try to do the same. But we certainly don't walk around with sandpaper in our pockets".

Du Plessis only has the deepest of sympathy for Smith, who repeatedly broke down in front of cameras while apologising to the nation on Thursday.

In 2016, du Plessis thanked Smith for his support during "mintgate" and sent the Australian star a message that noted "he gained a lot of respect from my team".

Now the tables have turned, with du Plessis suggesting Smith is being harshly treated in several senses.

"I did send him a text".

"I feel for the guy".

"He appreciated the message. This is an opportune moment, therefore, to shape what the game looks like in the 21st century and take a much broader look at the issues now facing the sport, and consider how we define what a spirit or respect code looks like today". He's a good leader for Australia. I do believe before this series that there were a lot of questions from us as a team and me as a captain, that the conversations and communication with us, you don't feel that same communication happens with certain players and certain teams around the world.

In a 22-minute event, he advised the International Cricket Council on the direction their wide-ranging review of player behaviour, the spirit of the game and the code of conduct should go; he expressed his heartfelt compassion for what Smith is going through and his harsh punishment; was diplomatic in discussing Australia's approach to the game; reflected on his own mistakes; admitted they had suspicions the visitors had been ball-tampering before Newlands.



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