Faf Du Plessis: World Cricket's Clown of the Month, October 2013
Faf du Plessis, welcome to cricket's hall of shame.
We've already featured bowlers who've chosen the wrong place and time to urinate (yes, you, Monty Panesar) and we've also showcased getting silly haircuts (Mahendra Singh Dhoni, you know what you did).
But du Plessis wins Bleacher Report's October award for an on-field crime.
He was caught tampering with the ball and Pakistan were accordingly given a five-run bonus in the second Test against South Africa in Dubai.
You can draw your own observations on the footage here:
You can also have your own opinions on how big a crime ball-tampering is. Our own columnist Antoinette Muller argued that the biggest crime du Plessis committed was getting caught and, in many ways, it is hard to disagree.
I'd add that in the scale of clownish times to get caught, however, du Plessis also scored quite high.
Try to get a little extra help when you're struggling or you need something magic to get you back into a game or that elusive victory.
Du Plessis was caught out when South Africa had a first-innings lead in excess of 400. In a two-horse race, it was, at that moment at least, thoroughbred against carthorse. The thoroughbred hardly needed an extra boost.
There's an honorary mention in this section for du Plessis' teammate AB de Villiers, who spoke up for his friend after the incident. In quotes reported by the Guardian, de Villiers said:
I know Faf very well. He is the last man on the field who will try anything like that. It is part of his responsibility to shine the ball, in order to get it to swing, and look after it. It is not an easy job and I thought he did a very good job of it.
Of course, what doesn't help that statement is that du Plessis then immediately pleaded guilty to the charge and accepted his punishment without appeal.
Perhaps one day we will look at ball-tampering with less of a moral fuss and we'll accept it as another part of the game.
But for now it's crime enough for du Plessis to be our clown of the month.
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