Faf du Plessis has said there was no malicious intent when he shoulder-barged England’s Jos Buttler during an incident on the fourth and final day of the fourth Test that looks likely to land the South Africa captain with an International Cricket Council disciplinary charge.
Du Plessis and Buttler, England’s wicketkeeper, clashed at the end of the 57th over. Tempers frayed after a throw from Sam Curran at mid-off hit Du Plessis and he then became involved in a heated exchange with Stuart Broad.
As the players converged Du Plessis appeared to deliberately come into contact with Buttler as he continued his argument with Broad who, he believed, had called him an “idiot”.
“It’s part of my character,” said Du Plessis, who was dismissed seven balls after the incident. “I am always involved in a little bit of something somewhere in the game – trying to show that fight as the leader of the team, that you don’t stand back. It’s not like I am looking for it. It just happens. He said something to me and I said something back.
“I don’t think we knew we touched each other. It was just myself and Broady having a go. He [Buttler] was just trying to get between myself and him.
“There was no malicious intent. He was trying to defuse the situation. He didn’t do anything wrong. It was just words from Broady. It just got a bit heated. If you say something towards me, I will say something back.”
Joe Root, England’s captain, played down the incident but the ICC frowns on any sort of contact and Du Plessis is now likely to be charged with either a level one or level two offence, the latter of which could land him with four demerit points and a ban from either one Test or two white-ball matches.
Du Plessis indicated on Monday that this would probably be his last home Test but still hoped to lead the side in the West Indies in July. The ODI series against England begins next Tuesday.
“It was absolutely nothing,” said Root. “In fact, I thought Faf was probably using it as an excuse to get himself going and get himself in a contest. My worry was it would work in his favour.
“Because of things that happened previously in this series it will be made a big thing of but honestly it was absolute handbags. I’m not worried at all. He didn’t exactly knock him over, did he?”