Quinton de Kock guilty in Warnergate‚ but will claim morale victory

Quinton de Kock during the national men's cricket team training session and press conference at SuperSport Park on February 20, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Quinton de Kock during the national men's cricket team training session and press conference at SuperSport Park on February 20, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images

Quinton de Kock was found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute at a hearing in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday night.

But South Africa’s wicketkeeper-batsman will claim a moral victory for proving that he was not the cause of an incident involving Australia’s David Warner during the first test at Kingsmead on Sunday.

De Kock was fined 25% of his match fee and docked a demerit point by match referee Jeff Crowe.

Both players were charged with the same offence after video footage emerged online that showed Warner verbally attacking De Kock as the players left the field for tea on the fourth day.

In one of the videos Warner can be heard calling De Kock a “fu****g sook” — an Australian slang term for cry baby.

Most of the rest of what Warner said is inaudible and there would seem to be no video evidence of De Kock saying anything to Warner‚ who is seen being physically restrained by his teammates from approaching the South African keeper.

Warner was charged under level two of the code of conduct.

He did not contest the matter and‚ on Wednesday morning‚ was fined 75% of his match fee and slapped with three demerit point — one short of the four points that would have seen him banned for the second test at St George’s Park on Friday.

De Kock’s charge was a level one offence‚ which carried a maximum penalty of a 50% fine and two demerit points.

TimesLIVE understands that De Kock accepted the charge but contested being sanctioned.

The South Africans presented two witnesses who were not part of their squad or support staff.

The home side have insisted that De Kock had not done or said anything worthy of punishment.

“We are contesting level one because we think ‘Quinny’ didn’t do anything; ‘Quinny’ wasn’t aggressive‚” South Africa coach Ottis Gibson said at a press conference before the hearing.

“The footage showed ‘Quinny’ walking up the stairs and somebody else being restrained‚ and then ‘Quinny’ gets a level one. That doesn’t seem fair.

“If I am walking‚ trying to get back to my dressingroom‚ and somebody is being restrained how can you fine me for something?”

The hearing‚ which was conducted in a conference room at the South Africa team’s hotel‚ was attended by‚ among others‚ De Kock‚ South Africa captain Faf du Plessis‚ Gibson and team manager Mohammed Moosajee‚ and umpire Kumar Dharmasena.

It was presided over by Crowe‚ who also laid the charge‚ and started at 5.46pm.

The South Africans present left the room 47 minutes later at 6.33pm.

Moosajee returned at 6.56pm to receive the verdict.

That the saga‚ while a distraction to both teams‚ has been concluded without significant impact to either side will be welcomed by cricket aficionados.

But even the most ardent purist will watch closely when Warner and De Kock are within earshot of each other at St George’s Park come Friday‚ because human drama is as important a part of test cricket as runs and wickets — if not more. 

South Africa will be under pressure to level the four-match series after losing by 118 runs at Kingsmead.