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Broad fined for umpire criticism

Alan Gardner
March 23, 2014 « Praying for Wenger to stay | Test Wayin World Cup »
Stuart Broad expressed his dissatisfaction with the umpiring as lightning forks appeared in the sky © AFP
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England captain Stuart Broad has been fined 15% of his match fee for comments following his team's rain-affected defeat against New Zealand.

England lost on the Duckworth-Lewis method and Broad questioned the timing of the umpires' decision to take the teams off the field. He pleaded guilty to a Level One charge of publicly criticising match officials.

Lightning was seen above the ground in Chittagong before five overs of the New Zealand innings had been completed - the amount required to constitute a match - but Aleem Dar and Paul Reiffel elected to keep the players on until the arrival of rain, which came after 5.2 overs, a decision that Broad described as "decidedly average".

His comments were, according to match referee Javagal Srinath, in breach of section 2.1.7 of the code of conduct for players.

"Umpires are the final judges of the fitness of the ground, weather or light for play," Srinath said. "Weather decisions are the most difficult to make, but the umpires make the best decision possible, taking all factors into account.

"Such public criticism is not good for the spirit of the game. Mutual respect between players, match officials and administrators is paramount to the game of cricket."

Broad was visibly displeased after the game, although he did his best to remain "polite", saying that he thought the delay had put the safety of players and the crowd at risk. He received the backing of his team-mate Michael Lumb, who has experienced the frightening effects of lightning while growing up in Johannesburg.

"I think Stuart covered it in detail but, from a personal point of view, you don't mess around with lightning,'' Lumb said. "There are lives at stake. It was literally right above us and it was pretty scary.

"It would have been a different story if we were waking up this morning talking about guys who were struck by lightning. If we were on a golf course, we'd probably have been taken off. It's a serious thing and it's not to be messed with. I'd have been quite happy to go off the field earlier."

Decisions on when to suspend play due to adverse weather are in the hands of the umpires, according to the ICC's regulations and the ECB has not yet indicated whether it would be requesting a change to the guidance for officials.

"It's something we need to look at and address," Lumb said. "You do play in certain parts of the world where there will be lightning. It's a big factor and something has to be done."

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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