Faf: Aussie tampering worse than 'Mintgate'

Cape Town - Proteas captain Faf du Plessis believes that the Australian ball tampering that took place during the third Test at Newlands was worse than anything he did during the infamous 'Mintgate' scandal of 2016.

READ: Electric Morkel sees Proteas home

During a Test match in Hobart that year, Du Plessis was fined 100% of his match fee after the ICC found him guilty of attempting to illegally change the condition of the ball. 

Cameras had shown Du Plessis sucking on a mint and then shining the ball with the saliva that he had generated from the mint. 

It became a media circus as The Australian public turned on the South African skipper. 

During the Newlands Test, it was Aussie captain Steve Smith's turn to go through a similar grilling. 

Smith has been banned for the fourth Test at the Wanderers after admitting on Saturday that he was deeply involved in an intricate plan to rough up the ball and aid reverse swing on day three.

Cameron Bancroft was the man tasked with executing the plan, but cameras caught him in the act and it resulted in an emotional post-day confession from the 25-year-old opener and his captain. 

Bancroft received three demerit points and will be available for the Wanderers Test, with Smith on the receiving end of almost all of the global criticism. 

Du Plessis, when asked to compare this to what he went through in 2016, felt that the situations were different. 

"For me, yes," he said when asked if Smith's infringement was worse.

"Ball shining versus ball tampering are two very different situations and one is much more serious than the other.

"It's so difficult to say which is right and which is wrong. I think he is trying to take responsibility, so there is right in that. But there is also right in people being responsible for their own actions."

Du Plessis avoided a ban in Australia and scored a century in the next Test - South Africa won the series 2-1 - but he did empathise with the Aussie skipper.

"I can understand it's a really tough time for him to be in right now," Du Plessis said.

"The situation that I was in was really difficult for me as well because people were attacking me and my personality and character. I felt it was wrong and not fair. I don't know how he feels about his own personal situation but I can imagine it's a very tough time."

Du Plessis was not so sure that the reaction to the Smith/Bancroft incident was being blown out of proportion.

"When I was in Australia it felt like the same," he said.

"I was being followed everywhere I went, so the media for me looked the same as what it does now."

South Africa, meanwhile, took a 2-1 series lead on Sunday after taking 10 wickets in the final session to win by 322 runs. 

For the captain, that is all that matters.

"For me, personally, the cricket takes all the glory and the shine with the way we played," he said.

2016 was not the first time Du Plessis has been involved in ball tampering.

In Dubai in 2013 during a Test match against Pakistan, the 33-year-old was fined 50% of his match fee after rubbing the ball against the zip on his whites.

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