We can thank Faf du Plessis for inadvertently giving us the fantastically earnest Cricinfo headline: ‘No zips on cricket kit by 2015’. This brave new world is to be created because he was caught raking the ball across a zip on his kecks, presumably in a bid to rough it up.
Well aware that cricket treats ball tamperers like war criminals, Faf has gone to the trouble of making some vague comments about the matter.
His first line of defence is:
“When the on-field umpires inspected the ball, there wasn’t a scratch mark or anything untoward on the ball. In fact, it was in excellent shape and wasn’t reverse-swinging at all. Basically, the condition of the ball hadn’t been changed, and that’s why I think my penalty was not as harsh as the sentences given out for other similar incidents.”
This says to us that he wasn’t doing his job very well. He is an incompetent ball scratcher – which can also double as an insult.
His second line of defence is:
“I pride myself on being a morally good person, and that’s why this past week has been so difficult, as people have been quick to label me a cheat.”
The thing about morals is that they are internally generated. It’s an individual thing. You can do something you consider morally wrong without breaking the law, but in different circumstances you can also break the law without feeling like you have morally transgressed.
As far as cricket as a whole is concerned, we suggest that the unwritten code is that ball tampering only becomes morally wrong at the point at which you are caught.