Queensland Bulls and Australian Test batsman Usman Khawaja has laughed at Faf du Plessis’ recent ‘Sandpapergate’ claims while cricket fans have lashed the former South African skipper for his hypocrisy.
Australia was infamously found to have been altering the condition of a ball in South Africa during the third Test in Cape Town in 2018 by using sandpaper.
That resulted in Cameron Bancroft copping a three month suspension while Cricket Australia came down hard on captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner with one-year bans and leadership disqualification for life.
Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith face the music in South Africa after footage emerged of the sandpaper being used to rough the ball up
Smith is comforted by his father Peter as he confronts the media at Sydney International Airport after the sandpaper scandal in South Africa
In a bid to promote his new autobiography, former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis ripped open the scars from that Test by claiming he suspected the Aussies of ball-tampering in the first Test as well.
‘During the first Test in Durban, the Australian pace attack had got the ball to reverse insanely,’ wrote du Plessis in passages of his book released to News Corp.
‘Mitchell Starc claimed nine wickets and, although I regard him as one of the best proponents of reverse-swing bowling I have ever seen or faced, those deliveries in Durban were borderline unplayable.
‘He would come in around the wicket with a badly deteriorated ball and get it to hoop past us.
‘Our balls had also reversed but not nearly as much as theirs.
‘We suspected that someone had been nurturing the ball too much to get it to reverse so wildly, and we watched the second Test at St George’s through binoculars, so that we could follow the ball more closely while Australia was fielding.
‘When we noticed that the ball was going to David Warner quite often, our changing room must have looked like a birdwatching hide as we peered intently through our binoculars,’ wrote du Plessis.
Faf Du Plessis, pictured playing against Australia in 2016, was found guilty himself of ball tampering twice but was not suspended for his actions
Khawaja played in that Test series and scoffed at du Plessis’ claims, saying the ball had been hooping around for both sides.
‘Even in the second Test of that series, South Africa reverse swung the ball before we did,’ Khawaja told The Age at Sunday’s Twenty20 World Cup clash between India and Pakistan,’ the Queenslander said.
‘So for him to say that … they were reverse swinging it before we were. It’s easy pointing fingers but I remember Kagiso Rabada blew my stumps apart at the WACA, reverse swinging it first innings and that was after 40 overs.
‘So they were always very good at reverse swinging and it’s very rare to see reverse swing at the WACA other than on day five.
‘So while he says that, there was a period of time where reverse swing was very prominent in the game. How every team was doing it, I can’t really speak for that, but I giggled to myself when I saw those comments.’
Usman Khawaja and David Warner celebrate winning The Ashes after the sandpaper scandal
Khawaja said he laughed at du Plessis’ comments on ‘Sandpapergate’ made in his new book
Du Plessis has been slammed for his comments after he was found guilty of ball tampering in 2013 and 2016 by the International Cricket Council but didn’t miss a single Test match on either occasion.
Sensationally, the former South African skipper then said in 2018: ‘the penalties needs to be harsher for ball tampering’.
‘I’m not mentioning this from atop a high horse. In the past, we have also been found guilty of employing unorthodox methods to get the ball to reverse swing,’ du Plessis wrote in his new autobiography.
Fans aren’t having it, though, and have been quick to lash du Plessis for his hypocrisy.
‘Says Faf, twice previously convicted of ball-tampering. Compared to the penalties handed out to Smith, Warner and Bancroft, escaped after being slapped with a stick of limp celery,’ one fan responded.
‘Trying to deflect much! Just coz Aust got caught doesn’t take the shine off the suspicion of the South Africa’s bowling team, which has been suspected of ball tempering for a decade or so, as too other nations were. Those living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,’ said another.
‘Faf du Plessis, who got a slap on the wrist and never missed a game when he was TWICE done for ball tampering, doesn’t like it when others do the same,’ yet one more wrote.