Australia v West Indies, 3rd Test, Perth December 20, 2009

Unfair treatment for Benn

Chris Broad needs to explain why he chose to hand Benn a more stringent penalty under the code of conduct, than Australians Haddin and Johnson

Anyone who has followed Sulieman Benn's career, not least those who play against him in Barbados club cricket, know that the beanpole left-arm spinner is no saint. There are previous convictions on his disciplinary record at West Indies and club level to reveal his feisty nature on the field.

But the International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Chris Broad, the former England opening batsman, needs to explain why he chose to hand Benn a more stringent penalty under the code of conduct, suspending him for the next two one-day internationals, than Australians Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson, who were fined for their on-field altercation during the third Test in Perth but can continue playing.

Benn, supported by team manager Joel Garner and captain Chris Gayle, pleaded not guilty at a hearing with Broad. The Australians pleaded guilty, pre-empting a hearing. The code of conduct penalises players for "conducting themselves in any way that is not in accordance with the spirit of the game".

Surely all three were involved in the relevant incident. As Tony Greig, the former England captain, now television commentator, stated afterwards "a blanket should be thrown over all three, with the same penalty".

An ICC statement quoted Broad as saying: "The decision to find Sulieman guilty of a Level 2 offence is indicative of the fact that conduct contrary to the spirit of the game is completely unacceptable. I hope he has learnt his lesson and will be careful in the future."

Yet no similar comments were directed at Haddin and Johnson. Indeed, Broad rebuked Haddin for provoking Benn but warned only the West Indian that if he transgressed again within a year his charge could be upgraded to level three.

The West Indies management in Australia has stated that, while it will not appeal Broad's decision, it will send a letter of protest to the ICC over the disparity. Broad has previously suspended Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir for a Test for elbowing Australian bowler Shane Watson who was fined 10% of his match fee for "inappropriate verbal engagement with an opposing player" in the incident.

Yesterday Broad again had to deal with Watson on the fourth day of the final Test against West Indies in Perth. This time he fined him 15 % of his match fee for the same offence, not showing due respect for the opponent, by running down the pitch and screaming at West Indies captain Chris Gayle after dismissing him.

Broad's euphemistic comment for the snarling Australian was that "Shane is a very energetic and enthusiastic bowler but on this occasion he has gone too far". But not far enough for a suspension which, seemingly, doesn't apply to Australians.

Tony Cozier has written about and commentated on cricket in the Caribbean for nearly 50 years

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashish on December 20, 2009, 18:32 GMT

    Aussies have been very rude and negative in this decade.Better example would be shown by sydney test 2008 where nothing was happening to aussies and everything was put forward to other teams.Arrogance has steadily increased.It looks like ICC official are afraid of doing anything to aussies.Like Ricky ponting pulling to sharad powar while receiving the trophy.ICC match official be impartial.Here Broad should have thought 1000 times before he banned benn for two ODIs.Aussies have already been escaped many times and now its time for every ICC match official to see their action in field and make impartial decision to everyone.

  • Drew on December 20, 2009, 18:22 GMT

    Anyone who thinks Sullimann Benn has been hard done by mustn't have watched a minute of the series. He has spent the last two tests constantly sledging all the Australian batsmen and attempting to use his size to intimadate the batsmen by standing over them at both the strikers and non strikers end. Hyperthetically, if an Australian batsman had responded to Benn's constant sledging with physicallity would their reaction be justified? Would the numerous posters from other countries who have suggested Haddin instigated the incident be on here criticising Benn? Would Cozier be calling for an equal punishment for both players involved? Ofcourse not. Is Cozier arguing that if a player reacts to verbal exchanges by getting physical that he should not recieve any extra punishment, even if he doesn't plead guilty to the offence?

  • Arnold on December 20, 2009, 18:01 GMT

    West Indians supporters will support their players, but bringing the in the Watson/Gambhir incident was just trolling for Indian supporters to support a cause that really doesn't deserve any sympathy on its own.

    But ultimately, if the West Indian's believe Benn was hard done by, Why don't they appeal? The answer is clear to anyone who watched the video.

    It is grossly injudicious to claim that all people involved in an incident should face the same punishment when they acted in very different ways. No court would ever agree with that claim. Should Haddin be suspended for pointing at Benn with his bat? Should Johnson be suspending for trying to diffuse the situation between Haddin and a menacing Benn? Punishment is handed out for what a person does, not for what other parties to the same incident do.

  • Arbab on December 20, 2009, 18:00 GMT

    I totally agree with Tony here. Benn has definitely been hard done here and Aussies have got away with it too easily as usual. ICC seem to have a different set of rules when it comes and Australian and Indian players. Shambolic!

  • Vidyadhar on December 20, 2009, 17:41 GMT

    Why is anybody surprised. It is and always has been the code of conduct for the match referees to be soft on the Australian players and be excessively harsh on others. The instigators in most of these "incidents" are the Aussies the others draw the punishments for hitting back first!!!. Ban all three of the players involved whether they plead guilty on not. Mr. Broad's explanation was The Australians pleaded guilty and expressed " Remorse" whereas Benn pleaded not guilty. This man should be banned for being prejudiced.

  • omkar on December 20, 2009, 17:38 GMT

    I hope Tony Cozier is not silly to really expect Chris Broad will offer any explanation for his blatant bias in handing down decisions.

    Chris Broad is not deserving to be in the position he is and the ICC should remove him instantaneously. Any othe by the the ICC would be a continuation of the farce they impose on cricket lovers.

  • Sandeep on December 20, 2009, 17:35 GMT

    Behave obnoxiously, plead guilty for the nth time... and getaway with just a minor fine. Repeat the same thing next time around. Aussies seem to have mastered this art. Haddin n co get just a fine because they pleaded guilty? What utter nonsense!!! All 3 should have received the same punishment.

  • krishna on December 20, 2009, 17:22 GMT

    totally agree with mr .cozier, match referee chris broad thinks he's the right to do as he pleases ,and his decisions seem to ooze of bias,from my impartial view ,and having seen all five days of that third test ,and the ridiculuos decision to give ROACH out,especially when snicko was inconclusive, and mr JACK TREZ ! youve hit the nail on the head ,well done man ,lets hope someone sensible gets this matter sorted out!

  • kareem on December 20, 2009, 17:02 GMT

    OK. We all know who is australian and wwho is noraml from these posts. Benn and Johnson had a wrestle to get to the ball...perfectly legal in cricket. Neither Benn nor Johnson said or did anything after thier wrestle, however MR. BIG and BOLD WICKETKEEPER decided he had something to say and do ( like he could defend johnson...taller and stronger). Now in every day circumstances anyone threatening you could be approached by POLICE!!!!!!! Now. How did Benn reply? talking! again.......perfectly legal in cricket. He also threatened to throw at stumps......again PERFECTLY LEGAL IN CRICKET! now what happened btwn him and johnson was clearly accidental and u cant blame Benn for shrugging off Johnson when clearly he thought Johnson was trying to come in for Haddin! Benn and Johnson should be fined! HADDIN............SUSPENDED!!!!!!!

  • Nicholas on December 20, 2009, 16:45 GMT

    Australia have abused the spirit of cricket for a decade or more. It's time that the ICC stopped indulging Ponting and Co. Haddin, Watson and Johnson should have received bans for their abominable and thuggish conduct.

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