Proteas coach defends Philander in ball tampering row

South Africa coach Russell Domingo on Saturday denied his team was earning a reputation for ball tampering after Vernon Philander become the second Proteas player in the last nine months to be fined for the offence.

Philander was on Friday fined 75% of his match fees after footage emerged of him attempting to change the condition of the ball by scratching the surface with his fingers and thumb during the ongoing first Test against Sri Lanka. 

“No I don’t think so (that we are earning a reputation). I’d hate to say that other sides are a bit better at doing it than we are,” Domingo said after the fourth day’s play at the Galle International Stadium. “We don’t try to do it intentionally. He (Philander) said he was cleaning it but it’s (now) done,” Domingo said. 

South Africa were involved in a similar incident against Pakistan in the UAE last October when TV coverage showed Faf du Plessis rubbing the ball close to the zipper of his trouser pocket. The batsman was fined 50% of his match fees. 

Domingo said he had not seen the latest footage and it was hard for him to comment in detail. “We need to move on and put it behind us. Nine times out of ten if they have footage you will be found guilty. 

“We try to play the game in the right spirit. It’s not something we set out to do. Maybe it’s something we should cut out completely. 

“But at the same time, I haven’t seen the footage so it’s difficult to comment on. The umpires say the condition of the ball wasn’t changed at all, and that says it all.”

Philander has bowled 21 overs so far in the match without taking a wicket. – AFP

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