Faf du Plessis has compassion for what Steve Smith is going through.
Faf du Plessis has compassion for what Steve Smith is going through.

He’s one of the good guys: Faf feels for Smith

SOUTH Africa skipper Faf du Plessis suspected the Australians had been ball-tampering in this series, but sympathised with fallen Australian counterpart and "good guy" Steve Smith.

Du Plessis welcomed the world-wide review into player conduct announced by the ICC on Thursday night (EDT), describing the scandal-ridden series "draining".

While showing more compassion for Smith (revealing he'd sent him an SMS) than David Warner, du Plessis still lobbed a grenade on the eve of the final Test at The Wanderers.

Faf du Plessis has compassion for what Steve Smith is going through.
Faf du Plessis has compassion for what Steve Smith is going through.

 

"I thought so (they had used similar tactics in previous Tests), yes. This series the ball has been reversing quite a bit,'' du Plessis said.

"Without having any evidence of it, we thought there's no way the ball can go so early - unheard of for a South African series.

"We try and get the ball to talk as much as possible, but we certainly don't walk around with sandpaper in our pocket.

"You've always heard - anything that is rough - back in the day people were trying to get rocks or dirt in their hand. Sandpaper has the same effect - anything that's rough that can scuff that one side."

Du Plessis admitted he was no saint, having twice been embroiled in ball-tampering controversies, most recently the infamous "mint-gate" scandal of 2016.

While he felt the one-year bans were harsh, he felt it might be the message that's needed while backing Smith to return as captain.

"I did send him a text to be strong and he'll get through this. From a really deep place in my heart I feel for the guy,'' he said.

"You don't want to see people going through that stuff and it's going to be an incredibly hard next few days. I can see the disappointment in his heart.

"The vibe I've received is that he wants to take responsibility. I think people can change. We all grow up and get more mature.

"It's been a crazy week, I do have a compassion towards what he's going through. He's one of the good guys.

"We're not sitting in a glass house where we think we're better than them. The penalty a little harsh, quite hard on him. It's almost a line in the sand.

"Perhaps it needed what happened now (the ban)."

Leading 2-1, the Proteas will secure their first home Test series win against Australia in almost 50 years if they can avoid defeat.

"It's taking too much attention from the game. This series has been so draining, personally and for the team - so I can not imagine what they're feeling in their dressingroom,'' du Plessis said.

"We can't afford to lose our mental edge. We're a team on the verge of creating history."



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