South Africa accuse Australian TV network of harassing cricket captain Faf du Plessis after airport fracas

Proteas disappointed Channel 9 'blatantly ignored' their 'media protocol' both at team hotel in Melbourne over weekend and when squad arrived at Adelaide airport on Monday.

South Africa's Faf du Plessis is under the spotlight. Money Sharma / AFP
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South Africa have accused an Australian TV station of harassing cricket captain Faf du Plessis after a reporter was involved in a physical confrontation with a team security guard at Adelaide Airport on Monday.

Du Plessis has been charged with ball-tampering by the International Cricket Council (ICC) during the second Test in Hobart, which South Africa won to clinch the series with a match to spare.

A statement from team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee on Monday said the Australian media, and Channel 9 in particular, had been advised that Du Plessis could not comment on the matter until a hearing was held.

Moosajee said the South Africans were therefore disappointed that Channel 9 had “blatantly ignored” their “media protocol” both at the team hotel in Melbourne over the weekend and when the squad arrived at Adelaide airport on Monday.

TV pictures showed a Channel 9 reporter trying to push his way past South Africa officials and players to ask Du Plessis for comment, as one of his colleagues had in Melbourne over the weekend.

“This is the third incident of a reporter aggressively harassing our players with blatant disrespect of the above-mentioned media protocol,” the statement said. “The ‘reporter’ at the airport disrespected us and continued to harass Faf for comment. The ‘reporter’ was also in the unusual position of being in the middle of the players’ walkway to the bus.

“He was advised to move three times, and did not adhere to this request. The ‘reporter’, who also had no official accreditation, then proceeded to lunge towards Faf with an unknown object causing a direct breach of security protocol.”

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TV pictures showed the “unknown object” to be the reporter Will Crouch’s microphone, which was knocked out of his hand as the security guard shoved him several times before bundling him towards a glass door.

Crouch pushed back before he was shouldered away and into the door by a man Australian media said was Proteas security chief Zunaid Wadee.

Du Plessis was wearing headphones at the time of the altercation and reporters said he gave a thumbs-up to cameras moments before Wadee clashed with Crouch, who was unharmed.

Veteran batsman Hashim Amla lashed out at the reporter. “Disappointed.. such provocative behaviour from reporters. Let a man walk in peace. Ask with manners n courtesy and u prob will get a response,” he tweeted.

Channel 9 said Wadee also had a run-in with one of its reporters in Melbourne over the weekend as he attempted to ask Du Plessis about the tampering issue.

The Proteas captain allegedly had a sweet, or mint, in his mouth and rubbed saliva into the ball to get more swing during the Hobart match and is facing a one-match ban.

A hearing will be held by Andy Pycroft of the ICC match referees panel. The results will be announced in due course, the ICC said in a statement on Friday.

South Africa are chasing a first-ever series whitewash in Australia when they go into Thursday’s pink-ball Test in Adelaide, and Du Plessis is likely to play the game.

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