Faf du Plessis ball-tampering saga is ridiculous. It's nothing new, England have been doing it for years

Chris Tremlett
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South Africa Training Session
Du Plessis was caught on camera sucking a mint and applying his saliva to the ball (Source: Getty)

The ball-tampering saga which has engulfed South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis is all a bit ridiculous and something which has been blown way out of proportion.

Chewing sweets and shining the ball, with the theory being that the polish is kept on the ball better with sweet saliva, is something which has been done by cricketers since the dawn of time.

Ever since I started playing county cricket for Hampshire in 2000, there would be many occasions when the fielders in the slips would be chewing on sweets and looking to use their saliva to buff the ball.

When I was representing England, it is something we spoke about and did. Like Australia captain Steve Smith said on Wednesday, every team around the world will do the same, especially with the Dukes ball.

Nobody has really made a fuss about it until Du Plessis was caught on camera during the second Test against Australia in Hobart last week. The television images clearly show the 32-year-old putting his saliva from a mint on the ball but, like I say, it has been happening for years and years.

A precedent has now been set and there needs to be a clear rule from the International Cricket Council about what is right and what is wrong. How far do the authorities want to take it? It will be hard to monitor so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Turning to England’s third Test against India, which starts in Mohali on Saturday, the talk is that Jos Buttler will be recalled at the expense of Ben Duckett, who has scored just 18 runs in three innings against the hosts.

It would be preferable for players to get a run in the side but these conditions are completely different to what Duckett will have been used to. If he played the whole series and carried on the way he is doing, people would be questioning whether he is good enough.

I believe he is talented enough for Test cricket, it’s just he’s showing himself to have a technical flaw in these conditions and a weakness against spin. For the benefit of himself as much as anything, it’s probably best he is omitted.

I certainty don’t think it is the end for him in the Test arena. He will need to work on his game but when England go home and play in their own conditions, I’m sure Duckett will look a different player and I’m confident he’ll do well.

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