Johannesburg [South Africa], Nov. 21 : In the aftermath of the 'Mintgate' saga, the South African cricket board has hit out at the Australian media for their handling of the scandal involving stand-in skipper Faf du Plessis.
Du Plessis is already facing the charge of ball tampering by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after he allegedly applied a mint-infused saliva to the ball during the fourth day's play of the second Test against Australia, which concluded in Hobart on last Tuesday.
The matter escalated on Monday as ugly scenes were witnessed at the Adelaide Airport where a security official travelling with the South African cricket team shoved an Australian television reporter against a glass door who was attempting to interview du Plessis.
According to Sport24, the incident took place when Nine Network reporter Will Crouch was pulled away from du Plessis as the team arrived at the airport ahead of the third and final Test.
The scribe was pushed back before he was shouldered away and into the door reportedly by Proteas security chief Zunaid Wadee.
In the video footage, the Proteas skipper can be seen wearing headphones at the time of the altercation and as per the Australian reporters, he gave a thumbs-up to cameras moments before Wadee clashed with Crouch, who was unharmed.
In a statement, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said, "The Australian media and Channel 9 News in particular have been advised on numerous occasions over the past few days that Cricket South Africa and captain, Faf du Plessis, are not in a position to comment on the alleged ball tampering issue." "However, despite our best to intentions to co-operate with the Australian media, Channel 9 News' behaviour has been disappointing.
We have advised of our media protocol which has been blatantly ignored, both at the team's hotel in Melbourne on Friday and Saturday and again at the airport in Adelaide today," the CSA added.
The cricket board further stated that this was the third incident of a reporter aggressively harassing their players with blatant disrespect of the above-mentioned media protocol.
'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.
The reporter also shoved the team manager in the back," the CSA said in a statement. "Throughout the tour we have respected all our media obligations and treated media with the utmost respect.
At the same time, we would like to see this respect reciprocated and will not accept such behaviour as displayed by the Channel 9 News reporter," he added.
However, Channel Nine also said that the Proteas security chief 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.
South Africa are currently chasing a first-ever series whitewash in Australia when they go into the pink ball Test in Adelaide commencing from November 24.