Trinidad & Tobago Express

Australia v West Indies, 3rd Test, Perth

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

Tony Cozier

December 20, 2009

Comments: 77 | Text size: A | A

Mitchell Johnson pushes away Sulieman Benn, Australia v West Indies, 2nd Test, Perth, 17 December, 2009
Was Benn punished unfairly? Or did the Australians get off lightly? © Getty Images

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

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Posted by dahalcric 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.

Posted by livinproof 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?

Posted by ArnoldG 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.

Posted by Arbab-Gondal 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!

Posted by vakkaraju 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.

Posted by Divinetouch 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.

Posted by cricsand 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.

Posted by deathbowlerzzzzz 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!

Posted by kreem 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!!!!!!!

Posted by olympian 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.

Posted by Firefox87 on (December 20, 2009, 16:39 GMT)

I'm not surprised by the decision of Benn's 2 ODI ban. It seems that there are 2 code of conducts - one for aussie players and other one for the rest of the teams. Aussie players always get away with the minimum punishment possible and other team's players get ban hammer. I'm sure that even if Haddin had hit Benn with the bat he would not have gotten match ban.

Posted by PD_Atl on (December 20, 2009, 16:32 GMT)

if Benn is suspended, Bollinger and Watson should be treated the same way for their antics on the field.......we are talking abt a game, played with one rule book aren't we????

Posted by ayanc_99chak on (December 20, 2009, 16:08 GMT)

tony watever said and done, this decision like all others previously taken by icc match refs are heavily racially biased. never has been a player from the white countries i.e. eng, oz, sa or nz being banned inspite of their boorish behaviour. racism is very much ingrained into cricket and windies deserves it for supporting the oz eng block for so many yrs. remember bucknor against india favouring the oz at sydney. as u sow, sow u reap. it will continue to be forever. johnson and haddin deserved the same punishment as benn who was no angel in the first place.

Posted by Uppi on (December 20, 2009, 16:06 GMT)

I would be interested to know what proportion of the total ICC penalties (fines, suspensions, etc.) have been given to teams playing Australia. Of course, this analysis should ignore such offences as slow over rates. Anecdotally it seems to be that all teams playing Australia cop it bad from match referees. On TV, it seems to me (and anecdotally to many Indians) that Australians are very provocative, but they never get anything more than a rap on the knuckles. I don't remember an Australian getting a match ban ever. Maybe ICC should explain to West Indian, Indian and such other teams and their fans where they keep going wrong.

Posted by rannyu on (December 20, 2009, 16:04 GMT)

1. JB77 and Geraldine should read the comments from Sudagra and Dontalon. The point is that to ALL involved in the incident should have been EQUALLY punished and up to this point I HAVE SEEN NO EXPLANATION THAT EXPLAINS THIS DISPARITY. I would suggest that you take a step back and try not to be so parochial.I wonder what you would have said if Gayle had not simply turned away from Watson but instead RAMMED HIS BAT DOWN HIS THROAT.Surely if you can suspend a player(Indian) for 1 match when he points to the pavilion after the dismissal of a batsman, then Watson's stupid behaviour should also be similarly severe. Where is the consistency.

2. On another matter , I cannot understand the stance of taken by the W.I Management. If you think that the punishment is too severe, then why not contest/appeal the decision NOW/IMMEDIATELY. Sending a letter of protest to the ICC after the player is about to serve the suspension/ban makes no sense to me.

Posted by rgom on (December 20, 2009, 15:40 GMT)

I don't know what the west indians are complaining about. When they get a chance, they suck up to AUS/ENG/SA. Just check Clive Lloyds's sentences against Indians.

Posted by Tiptop32 on (December 20, 2009, 15:38 GMT)

I feel sorry for the Windies and Sub continent players. The white players have their birth rights to abuse others and get away from it. There are number of incidents in the past like Michael Slater, McGrath, Symonds, Haddin, Donald, to tell a few. Windies and sub continent players are always on the receiving end. The match referees apply the law only when it comes to poor Windies and sub-continent players. For others these laws are not applicable. I think Windies and sub-continent teams should ignore ICC and form an association and play among themselves rather than getting humiliated by white players. I dont think cricinfo will make my post appear in the website as they cant accept the truth.

Posted by ezzyjojo on (December 20, 2009, 15:23 GMT)

Am I the only one who can see or is everyone else blind? BLIND!!!!! The contact between Benn and Johnson was far from coincidental. Anyone who reviews the footage will realize that johnson deliberately moved in on Benn. He made a conscious move in between Benn and Haddin and so drew the contact. Please dont be fooled by this accident story. I dont buy it and anyone who can see straight will see that that was typical aggressive behaviour by Johnson. ACCIDENT MY FOOT!!!!

Posted by JackTrez on (December 20, 2009, 15:16 GMT)

Chris Broad on Watson:

"Shane is a very energetic and enthusiastic bowler but on this occasion he has gone too far by running down the wicket screaming, thereby not showing due respect for the opponent

Chris Broad on Benn:

"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."

To Watson he is respectful and understanding, to Benn he is condescending and stern.

Why is that Broad? This prejudice is intolerable - we can see that the colonial mentality in Cricket still exists.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (December 20, 2009, 14:54 GMT)

I saw the Johnson, Haddin Benn drama unfold on the TV as I was watchig the test match and was quite sure this is what the scale of punishment would be between 2 Australians and one West Indian. One cannot expect anything else from the Match referree in question. Unfortunately for Gayle and his team, they do not have the clout of the Indians to rattle the ICC.Which is the pity really. For me Benn looks the typical rapping Carribean. Not one for serious confrontations. Just a rum or five, some singing and dancing. I am sure he could't have been full of the hatred one saw in Johnson and Haddin. Yet it is Benn who "copped" it not the gentle Australians. Then again Shane Watson's antics were as provocative as an Australian can get against coloured cricketers. Yet he was let off with just loss of a negligable part of his match fees.That is ICC and their match referrees for you and me. It is not without reason that the ICC is not taken too seriously any more.

Posted by serendipiti on (December 20, 2009, 14:49 GMT)

This is nothing new Mr Cozier. Time and again we've seen this. It;s just that the English and Aussies and Safs have a "natural" right to be aggressive and there's no problem if they overstep.In their case it's seen as "passion for the game",competitive and blah blah blah. Problem begins when it's an Indian/Pakistani/West Indian/Sri Lankan who does it.Rantunga/Shoaib/Gambhir/Sangakara/Benn...the list goes on.After all they are supposed to be meek/submissive/servile as they were during the Colonial era gone by. Racism exists mate and it's official.

Posted by StreetCricketer on (December 20, 2009, 14:44 GMT)

I agree with Tony - in this incident, Benn was only as guilty or less than Haddin and Johnson. My guess is Benn would have admitted to level 1 offense, but he is right in pleading not guilty to higher level offense than Haddin and Johnson. In the past, Broad banned Afridi for four ODIs for pointing his bat at spectators. The punishment to Haddin is clearly nowhere near as severe. Broad is too erratic this incident should be re-evaluated.

Posted by CricketDieHardPartIII on (December 20, 2009, 14:21 GMT)

Hi Tony, I am actually not too surprised by Broad. He has a history of blow-ups, -on the pitch, off the pitch. E.g. in 1988, when he was bowled by part-timer Steve Waugh, he smacked his stumps in fit of rage. Refusing to leave the pitch after being given out against Pakistan's Iqbal Qasim. Plumb LBW against Malcom Marshall at Lord's but didn't want to leave the field is another one. Well, what can you say. Its a pity, disgrace, hopelessness, irony, call it whatever you want to have such an unstable character to be a match referee. Person who was axed after 25 tests only, what kind of value can he bring to game other than someone who wants to assert his authority on people whom he thinks may not reply back. I do not necessarily blame the Aussies as they are the masters of earning wins on such faulty umpiring by appealing/challenging, thereby intimidating weak characters like him and the lot. Such is life, not always fair. Hope he gets sacked before he does more damage to cricket.

Posted by Quazar on (December 20, 2009, 14:16 GMT)

Further, how come Ponting wasn't even slightly admonished when he shoved Bravo at the end of an over (for no visible rhyme or reason) in the 1st innings? The man's the leader...the standards have got to be even higher for him. I guess Chris Broad must have been catching a nap.

Posted by Noel-Kalicharan on (December 20, 2009, 14:13 GMT)

Some of us (like A.S.K.) seem to forget that Brad Haddin is a proven cheat. As a reminder, look at

You will clearly see Haddin's gloves in FRONT of the wicket, the ball going into his gloves, the GLOVES breaking the stumps and Haddin claiming the batsman (Neil Broom) was bowled. Broom was given out when Australia desperately needed a wicket.

If that is not cheating and against all the ICC's code of conduct, I don't know what is.

Posted by sanath007 on (December 20, 2009, 14:12 GMT)

this is called a Sri Lankan and we know this very well.Australians,Englishmen even now Indians escape fines.bans.but poorer countries stand no chance.i saw the Video and clearly Haddin Started it by Pointing the bat(waving it threateningly) he should be banned,then Johnson pushed Ausssies can even hit other players and escape a fine..

Posted by Quazar on (December 20, 2009, 14:07 GMT)

Thanks Tony. The points about Broad and Aussie players' happy knack of getting away needed to be raised. The initial contact between Benn and Johnson was neither 'ugly' nor did it 'discredit the game.' The 'ugliness' began when Haddin pointed his bat. As for the contact later, it was clearly Johnson's shoulder & gloves touching Benn, not the other way. So HOW IN THE WORLD could Benn be charged under Level 2, when the others (esp. Haddin, the instigator) face Level 1?? Had the Aussies also been charged under L2 and then admitted guilt, there was a case for different penalties, but not otherwise. And this is only the LATEST IN A LONG SAGA of AUSSIES GETTING AWAY AFTER INSTIGATING UGLINESS. Haddin was never charged for cheating vs. NZ (ODI last yr) when he gloved off the bails n claimed the batter was bowled! Watson has twice in 2 yrs gotten in a batsman's face, and is docked only 15%! And McGrath used to do it time and again (Lara, Sachin, Sarwan, et al) and get away. Just sickening!

Posted by Sudhirhk on (December 20, 2009, 14:03 GMT)

Well, Chrish broad has proven himself yet again that his actions and decisions border on prejudice and biased. He hands out punishments with no logic whatsoever reeking of favoritism. Recently, during Gambhir-Watson incident, it was Watson who provoked Gambhir and Gambhir was the one who got a hefty punishment and now Benn gets a raw deal when Johnson and Haddin were more to be blamed for the incident than Benn. That is is just pathetic. Chrish Broad has to be penalised for a couple of games for not officiating as a referee as punishment!

Posted by Noel-Kalicharan on (December 20, 2009, 13:51 GMT)

Haddin initiated the confrontation with Benn, who was simply reacting to the provocation, so how come Haddin gets off more lightly than Benn? Match referee Chris Broad says Haddin got a lighter sentence because he apologised and pleaded guilty while Benn did not.

But Benn had apologised to the umpires on the field which, to me, was more important than apologising to Broad. Also, Benn had every right to plead not guilty since, if you wish, he was acting in self-defence. It's like being arrested for attacking a burglar you find in your house. In fact, just like a recent incident (in Trinidad) where the police arrested the victim while allowing the female driver of the getaway car to go free.

Clearly, an apology to referee Broad carried more weight than one to the on-field umpires. It seems that Broad had to prove he was more important.. Who said "massa day done"?

I've always wondered: what's the difference between an umpire and a referee? Now we know - the referee is more important.

Posted by vezayar on (December 20, 2009, 13:40 GMT)

All i see are a bunch of opportunist children whinging. It's really quite sad. I wish i could dish out a little reality check on all of you, but sadly, most of you are too irrational and delusional to accept the facts. Re-watch the video, see Benn block Johnson after the initial contact. Yes Haddin waved his bat at Benn, telling him to move next time, which is unacceptable hence the fine. Yes Johnson did move in front of Benn (his his fince) but why was benn so close to Johnson in the first place? It is a fact that Benn persisted and persisted with it hence the grade 2 charge. Now, can we move on and avoid dishing out more unnecessary passive comments with biased references to past incidents.

Posted by Thebestsport on (December 20, 2009, 13:23 GMT)

N for this incident as rightly said by Tony Bemm wasn't any saint. But just because he didn't pledge didn't make him more guilty then others. What was the need of Haddin getting in the scenario?? One great ausie fans said that ausies players will back up each other. Wow great spirit. I wonder what might have happened if gayle n rest of the w.indies players would have get involved in to the matter. We might have seen a wrestling match there. He should have calm his partner rather then fighting with the opposition. It has always been said that cricket is a gentlemen game. But Ausies didn't seem to be fitting in that game. We all have to raise our voice sagainst the unfairness of the match referee n the field umpires. If nothing can be done then start a new award from ICC for the worst team in the spirit of the game. N i doubt anyone will be able to come near to ausie in this aspect.

Posted by Aspraso on (December 20, 2009, 13:21 GMT)

To extend what Gayle said about Watson to the entire Australian team would be to say "can't expect anything better". If Watson screams and shouts away at opponents -- it is dismissed as being passionate about his cricket (presumably this is healthy) -- whereas if Benn sings on the playfield -- he is unusual (obviously this is unhealthy and unacceptable). Very liitle left to say about about Chris Broad's sense of judicial parity.

Posted by Thebestsport on (December 20, 2009, 13:17 GMT)

Thanks a lot Tony Cozier for putting this thing up. It's not first time though it has always been in this way. For some unknown reasons the field umpires n the match referee has always been very kind n generous to Aus. N i agree with ALEXK400. We need confident field umpires. There are so many incidents of aus players playing dirty cricket with their opposition. But they have never been penalized to that extent. N for this incident as rightly said by tony Bemm wasn't any saint. But just because he didn't pledge didn't make him more guilty then others. What was the need of Haddin getting in the scenario?? One great ausie fans said that ausies players will back up each other. Wow great spirit. I wonder what might have happened if gayle n rest of the w.indies players would have get involved in to the matter. We might have seen a wrestling match there. He should have calm his partner rather then fighting with the opposition. It has always been said that cricket is a gentlemen game.

Posted by rayhaanali on (December 20, 2009, 13:00 GMT)

I have alot of respect for Tony Cozier, who is an unbiased and straight talking guy. Having watched the incident, as Benn was about to point to Haddin, he was unintenionally hit by Jhonson, Jhonson then hit Benn with his hand, also when the Jhonson and Benn thing started, Haddin had no business pointing his bat towards Benn, which by any means becomes a weapon and a threat, yet how lon earth can the punishments be so different? Where is the justice there?

Posted by sahasus on (December 20, 2009, 12:33 GMT)

I don't think that Benn should be suspended for two one day mathces. If he gonna suspend, why not haddin. That's nothing but making unfair treatment with someone else. aussies are always getting some favor when there have some this sorts of tbhings happen.

Posted by vanteal001 on (December 20, 2009, 12:33 GMT)

Reading through the comments above it is easy to pick out the Ausi supporters, as is so typical, there since of justice is so warped that they see nothing wrong with the penalties handed down by Chris Broad in both of the incidents which occurred during the game. Prejudice will always lead to blindness to injustice. I have no problem with the punishment handed to Ben; I do however have a problem with the punishment handed down to the Ausi players, in particular Brad Hadden. The incident which occurred had nothing to do with him in the first place, after completing the single he walked back towards the bowler's end and began pointing his bat at and arguing with Ben. So clearly he was the one who inflamed the situation. However by pleading guilty him and team mate gets off with a naughty boy slap on the wrist. Pleading guilty was not about them being sorry, it was merely a tactical move to avoid a more severe penalty. As for Watson, Gayle should have rammed the bat down his throat.

Posted by shabirsalimespn on (December 20, 2009, 12:28 GMT)


Posted by inthebag on (December 20, 2009, 12:23 GMT)

On balance it certainly looks like Benn has been harshly dealt with here. He's not your average cricketer and he attracts a bit of attention so they pull out the big stick to bring him down a notch. Do they really think that by banning him and letting the others off he'll just fade away? Broad's comment about him learning his lesson is typically English paternalistic nonsense.

Benn and his team are good for the game, clowns like Watson, I'm not so sure.

Posted by Chestnutgrey on (December 20, 2009, 12:17 GMT)

Benn was fined because he pleaded not guilty?? Really? What sort of justice is that? And incidentally, in the Watson-Gambhir incident, Watson pleaded not guilty while Gambhir pleaded guilty. And it was Gambhir who got the suspension. What are people here talking about?

Posted by convertorboy on (December 20, 2009, 12:04 GMT)

This incident further outlines the disparity the ICC has in dealing with player confrontations. The initial interaction between Johnson and Benn would have ended without problems had it not been for Haddin. There was no throw at the stumps, no malice until Haddin decided to raise his bat. It makes little difference what words are spoken if you're gonna threaten someone with a weapon. For those who are talking about the "Real World" assault with a weapon carries a greater charge than without one. All of this could be avoided if the ICC had a NO SLEDGING policy. Forget circumstance, forget passion, just respect your opponents and play the game. And as for Haddin, if you want to be as great as Gilchrist follow his example is all aspects of the game.

Posted by dontalon on (December 20, 2009, 12:01 GMT)

Chris needs to look at himself and the inner reasons why he makes the decisions he makes against players from certain regions. Look at his past decisions and you will see to what i refer; pleading guilty should not be an issue with Broad because Khan did so and got an 80% fine now Watson gets a 15% fine, and sweet words. It's time the ICC removes Broad. Australia has been a bully for years and have gotten away with it but they fall will begin to see a closure of the door to their arrogance. They are a weak team now and soon such transgressions will be notice more and more as they get weaker and weaker and then the weaker teams will give them their due.

Posted by A.S.K. on (December 20, 2009, 11:55 GMT)

Tony, You might like to quote Haddin's disciplinary record (no breaches, not even in first class cricket) and Johnson's disciplinary record (again, none). Measure that up with Haddin's admission of guilt (for giving a verbal and pointing the bat to Benn after Benn deliberately hindered the batsman, as shown on the coverage quite clearly), Johnson's admission of guilt (for arguing quite heatedly), against Benn's non-admission of guilt (offence as above, and disciplinary record that you have quoted), then offer an impartial view on the incident and punishments handed out.

Posted by JackTrez on (December 20, 2009, 11:40 GMT)

People claiming that Benn grabbed Johnson obviously have not seen the replays. Feel free they're on you tube.

Benn pointed at Haddin and Johnson walked in between Been and Johnson and straight into Benn's arm.

Benn pleaded not guilty beacuse he was charged with the more severe level 2 offence which he was innocent of.

Before you comment here watch the video and read the ICC rules and you will see Chris Broad is out of order.

Posted by sudagra on (December 20, 2009, 11:38 GMT)

This is typical Australian behaviour. If they are sledging or abusing others then it is passionate behaviour and eveb if other team is aggresive then it is unacceptable. As Dhoni pointed out earlier that Indian team will also learn the trick of sledging and then Australian team will have not have that advantage. The worst part is that all the time non-participating player also jumps into the game. In the Sydney gate as well Symonds jumed into the incident when Harbhajan just patted on the back of another batsman. The height of the situation is that match refree akways acknowledges that the incident was instigated by Australians but still they always get away with it by admitting it. It is like slapping someone and saying sorry for it. What a Shame for Austalians, Chris Broad and ICC. The tag of the worst team in the spirits of the game is glued to Australia.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 20, 2009, 11:01 GMT)

Accepting Guilty will not make it even deal because Benn was give LEVEL 2 offense and Hadding and Mitchell got Level 1 offense.

There you go.

And also Broad did not bring previous clash of mitchell johnson and benn as benn was going for the ball. It is his right. Mitchell johnson going for a run. This kind of clash happen in every game. So it is excluded from Broad's report.

Posted by mojojesus on (December 20, 2009, 10:55 GMT)

Tony is spot on ! !.... this is not something has happened time and again... Aussies are always the culprits and its the opposite team that gets penalised.... In this case haddin and is clearly the offender ..he has no business to raise his bat against benn...and johnson as well...if u can see the video, johnson delibrately positioned himself between haddin and benn.... In gambhir's case its watson who should have been banned... I m just sick and tired of this crap judgments by the so-called match referees....

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 20, 2009, 10:54 GMT)

Thank you Tony cozier again for tellit like it is. We need some to stand up for people who has been unfairly treated by certain match referee. We need more people to speak against him. He will start a cricket WORLD WAR if he continues in his post. Period.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 20, 2009, 10:50 GMT)

Thank you Tony cozier. You all can watch it in you tube. Mitchell johnson shoved Benn's hand. It is 100% clear that micthell johnson initiated the contact and he goes scott free. And watson for his girlish jump up and down send off got 15% , it should have been 4 match ban if you judge fairly.

I think chris broad brain is colored. You make up what is colored on your own.

I also think every umpire that goes to Australia is shivering in fear when aussie appeals. Today billy bowden made a bad call because aussie appealed and screeched in his ear. I was brought up with concept of INNOCENT proven guilty. The whole UDRS is doing the opposite. I am ok with LBW concept but with these catches. If there is 1 feet gap , will the field umpired bad decision stands?. or how many inches?.

There is only one man who can stand up to aussie crazy over appealing , That is Taufel. We need tough minded umpired who is confident inhimself , i really think all these umpires wanted to pacify aussie team

Posted by spookykid on (December 20, 2009, 10:35 GMT)

The whole world knows there are sets of rules!!! One for Australians and the other for non-Australians... What Benn did was wrng but Johnson had no business getting physical with Benn... if Gambhir was banned for a game for shouldering Watson in Delhi then Johnson too should ve been punished the same way!!! Broad i am afraid is a joke in ICC 's panel of MATCH REFEREES...

Posted by Howasthatone on (December 20, 2009, 10:27 GMT)

This one's pretty simple ... the big fellow grabbed Johnson twice. Once is unacceptible under the laws. I don't know how it works anywhere else but Haddin's reaction is what is expected in Australia and more so in the Australian cricket team. Emphasis on "team". You mess with one of them you've messed with all. You back up your mates no matter what. The Windies on the other hand looked at best at the Gabba to be a throw together of individuals. After that they seemed to get it.

Posted by Nipun on (December 20, 2009, 10:19 GMT)

Very informative article.I thought the ICC had set a law that Australian,South African,& English players can't be banned.However,reading this article,I have come to know that they CAN be,at least by law.I guess that Broad,after all his experience of the Ashes thrashings he received in his playing days,still fears the Aussies :P

Posted by Rahul_78 on (December 20, 2009, 10:19 GMT)

This is a shocker. I know I am gonna get it back from some for being whinging indian. But anybody with some commen sense will understand that it was haddin who initiated the tussle. Pointed a bat and was at his filthy best with language. When benn went afer him and got close it was johnson who intiated the contact and pushed benn away. Now suspending one for 2 odis and handing 10 & 15% match fees penalty for others is ridiculous. I would like to know aussie point of view from someone like ian chappell whos always frank in his openion on this issue. Tony will be accused of a bias for being from WI and so will be others from outside australia. Also it should be noted that haddin has a history of run downs with players in the past and is the same guy who tried to stop cricket ball by throwing his glove at it and claimed a clean bowled wicket after dislodging bells with his gloves. As far Watson well gayel said it best that you done expect anything better from him. Shame on you Chrs broad

Posted by EmpireCricketClub on (December 20, 2009, 10:17 GMT)

Let's not beat around the bush on this as it, to coin the phrase, "goes beyond the boundary" - Broad's judgement, even if unintended, mirrors what one sees in the justice system - that black males are given harsher sentences than their white counterparts for similar misdemeanours. Just a such inequity has no place in the wider society, it has no place in Cricket's administration of justice. The ICC's outworking of its code of conduct and anti-corruption drive over the years is worth reflecting on. One has the perception that the people who seemingly get written up most harshly on the anti-corrpution are the Africans (Kenyans) and the West Indians (eg Samuels). Are they the most at fault? Logic and economics would suggest otherwise. Tony Cozier has done us all a great favour by flagging this inequity and the ICC should heed it and ensure that its Code of Conduct is executed equitably in order to ensure that the game maintains the intregrity we all seek from it.

Posted by kabe_ag7 on (December 20, 2009, 10:14 GMT)

It does make sense for someone pleading not-guilty to get a bigger punishment. But it's the difference between the two punishments which is in question. Surely you can't place so much emphasis on how you plead later, rather than what happens on the field. If anything, the emphasis should be on who instigates the incident. What does this lead to? That you can get close to people,elbow them 'unintentionally' and then later plead guilty to unintentional pushing?Maybe Johnson meant to push Benn,maybe he didn't.But Benn never meant to push either of them first. And I don't think Benn got punished because of his collision with Johnson as is being suggested by some.In both Ponting-Bravo and Benn-Johnson videos, if you see the latter from a better angle,it was Ponting and Johnson who made the intentional physical contacts first,their heads down,as if pleading unawareness to what they were doing.This is nothing but eliciting reactions from the opposition.Bravo didn't push Ponting back,Benn did.

Posted by Naresh2 on (December 20, 2009, 10:02 GMT)

The oz love to talk up their ICC code odf conduct record. while it is well known how partial the referees are (read Michale Jeh;s piece too), there is another point:

why do such incidents occur only when the santly, "good records in ICC", angelic aussies are involved in a match?

Posted by Ricktos on (December 20, 2009, 9:54 GMT)

If the Austrlians win, they get critised. If they lose, they get critised, if they nearly get tackled into the ground, then they get critised. Benn definatly saw Johnson as the ball and tried to pick him up and throw him at the stumps. Maby haddin did overreact, but Benn again enlarged the sitiuation by threatening to throw the ball at haddin and then going over to swap opinions during the over break. Benn said he was innocent so clearly he doesn't recognise his actions. He was quite right to be suspended.

Posted by RPFOON on (December 20, 2009, 9:48 GMT)

I do not think Benn was unfairly treated , he probably got the punishment he deserves. However I think there is a disparity between the sentences handed down by the match referee to the 3 Australians and the one handed down to Benn. Haddin got 25% of his match fee and Johnson 10% for pleading guilty which is somewhat debatable. What I think makes the disparity worse was the 15% handed to Watson who quite frankly had no choice but to plead guilty. The combined 3 sentences of the Australian players only amount to a 50% loss of match fee which is not even close to Benn's penalty. It might be that Benn was penalised for not pleading guilty but even if he peaded guilty one has to wonder whether he would have got a fine as low as 50% match fee.

Posted by rannyu on (December 20, 2009, 9:45 GMT)

Guys, let us be real. From all appearances an injustice has been dealt to the W.I. It cannot be fair for only one of the three players involved in what appears to have been an ugly incident to be given a harsher sentence. ALL 3 should have been suspended(if that was the required penalty) and NOT ONLY THE W.I Player. Regardles of whether one player pleads guilty or not. It makes a mockery of the role of he match inspector. Incidentally this is par for the course. It appears that teams like Australia,England, S.A will seemingly always escape comparable severe penalties in these situations. I suggest that we not hold our collective breaths awaiting any possible PLAUSIBLE explanation from the match inspector. THIS SHOULD REALLY BE AN ICC REQUIREMENT. justice must NOT only be done but must also be SEEN to be DONE.I cannot endorse the behaviour of any of the 3 participants in this incident but the punishment meted out to BENN(and not the others) is UNFAIR.

Posted by Gotiji on (December 20, 2009, 9:32 GMT)

If Benn didn't plead guilty, then a heavier fine is somewhat justified. But it cannot be overlooked that Benn's contact with Mitch was unintentional, while Mitch over reacted quite brazenly by pushing Benn twice. All said and done, Broad isn't really doing his job.

Posted by akpy on (December 20, 2009, 9:28 GMT)

the aussie supporters are justified in supporting them just like anyone would for their own guys. But, it is a matter of intrigue that the extent of penalties is always more for the other teams. Also, the crucial umpiring error always happens to favour australia (hindsight of course) though this is mostly 'bad luck' as it is a neutral umpire (on field or now TV umpire). How can we explain why these things happen more in australia than anywhere else? there are incidents elsewhere but nowhere to the level we see in down under. What hurts all non-aussie sentiments is when the aussies scream about their innocence or defend their actions under 'we are an aggressive sporting nation, etc'. They are v.good at playing sports on the field but can never be popular winners, unlike windies in 80s. And, yes, there is no doubt that haddin/johnson should have copped similar penalties in this case.

Posted by batmannrobin on (December 20, 2009, 9:26 GMT)

yes Tony..But Alas , no one knows how D/L works n none knows how ICC match referees work. Seems as if they have diff rulebooks for Aussies. I distinctly remember Michael slater's argument with Dravid after the third umpire ruled him not out in the 2001 series - some of the most ugly behavior u cud see on field n the match referee hardly broke his silence. Ponting in Malaysia 06, Trent Bridge 05, Mumbai 06, Martyn in Mumbai 06, Warne against Andrew Hudson , The ugly Mcgrath - Sarwan spat in Antigua - everywhere Oz players got off lightly compared to players from other nations. As Sunny used to say Aussies were never popular champions n very true. n alas match referees seem to varying yardsticks for them. Aussies never r short of giving a mouthful to anyone on the field.but cry baby wen someone like Benn reiterates back.

Posted by Lupus666 on (December 20, 2009, 9:21 GMT)

I'm not sure which game everyone was watching. Even the journalists reported the initial contact between Benn and Johnson as "incidental" to Benn going for the ball and Johnson for the single. But the replay clearly showed Benn grabbing Johnson, not once but twice. One early report suggested that Haddin had gone off at Benn for playing the man and not the ball. Why hasn't that been spoken about!! If Benn had succeeded in pulling Johnson down and then returned the ball to the 'keeper to run Johnson out, what would people have been saying then. In the circumstances, I think the penalties are just about right (I would accept a higher fine for Haddin for reacting - like the third man into a fight in Rugby).

Posted by dwblurb on (December 20, 2009, 9:04 GMT)

Regjon, Haddin was not the instigator of the incident. Benn, by grappling with Johnson and going well beyond what is considered acceptable for someone trying to field a ball, was the instigator. That, and the fact that he did not plead guilty, thereby claiming what he did was acceptable, were the reasons he was penalised more heavily.

Posted by Uriah20 on (December 20, 2009, 8:56 GMT)

I completely agree,i don't for a minute suggest that Benn is innocent but haddin instigated the situation and all contact was by Johnson so it amazes me that the two Australians have got off so lightly by pleading guilty. Watsons behaviour was disgusting, to show such disrespect to anyone on the cricket pitch, much less the opposing captain and man of the series, is an absolute disgrace and exposes his complete lack of integrity. The 15% fine handed down by Chris Broad, who continues to show his ineptitude as a match referee, is a joke.

Posted by Josephus72 on (December 20, 2009, 8:45 GMT)

If someone pleads guilty, the sentence is often less as it reduces the resources required to come to a verdict but also shows that the accused is remorseful. Benn, did not plead guilty even though everyone here acknowledges he was guilty. So doesn't this indicate he is a liar? Maybe, maybe not, but that his sentence is sterner is hardly surprising in a civillised legal system.

Putting that aside, Benn's sentence is more severe because his fault occurred during play. What if his intentional grab on the batsman had led to a run out? What then? Haddin and Johnson's actions were poor but they had no direct potential bearing on the score/result.

Posted by NBZ1 on (December 20, 2009, 8:33 GMT)

It's disappointing that Cozier has glossed over what is the truly relevant fact here- that Benn didn't plead guilty while Haddin and Johnson did. THAT was what prompted the disparate sentences. Mind you, microanalysing which of Benn, Haddin and Johnson was more wrong- as some people above have done in trying to justify the decision- makes little sense. How do you know whether a jostle is worse than raising the bat? The simple fact is Benn didn't plead guilty, and that brought on the added punishment as per ICC guidelines, just as it would in any court of law.

Posted by kabe_ag7 on (December 20, 2009, 8:30 GMT)

I was wondering the same. Is such a huge difference in the punishment being explained only by Benn pleading not guilty and Haddin, Johnson pleading guilty? If there is any other reason, shouldn't it be stated clearly as to what kind of behaviour, of all that transpired, attracts 2 match punishment and which one gets small fine? Frankly, I couldn't see why Benn was so much more in the wrong than the other two. In fact I thought it was quite the opposite. Haddin pointed his bat threateningly at Benn after both Benn and Johnson did what they were entitled to do and of which Haddin even wasn't a part of. So he didn't even have the excuse of being all fired up. (I mean, what must he have been saying to Benn? "You better not come in Johnny's way!"? Wow, what good mates.) Point is, how is Haddin's totally uncalled for and provoking gesture less crude than a send-off, which attracts a hefty punishment, in which the bowler just has to point to the pavilion?

Posted by JB77 on (December 20, 2009, 7:53 GMT)

Since Australia has begun it's slide down the rankings after being nigh-unstoppable for a decade, it seems that every visiting team takes the opportunity to dish out the verbals at the weaker, very beatable Aussie side. It's kind of like waiting until guy who bullied you at school is in a retirement home, then kicking him in the groin. Sure, you could never beat him back then, but it's payback time now! Then when it happens you can always plead "But HE used to pick on me!!" (or you could always suggest a conspiracy or play the race card -both are popular choices). But seriously - the Aussies acted like complete idiots and so did Benn. The Aussies admitted their guilt. Benn did not. Hence the harsher penalty. That's all there is to it.

Posted by aravindh005 on (December 20, 2009, 7:46 GMT)

omg..this is too much for benn..Its the Australians Haddin and Johnson who provoked him... punishment given to Benn is definitely not fair..I dont know why and how the australians manage to escape from dese kindaa incidents with small punishments..Even watson was goin too much on Gayle and again he was let off with just a fine..wats this?? as a acricket fan i can only blame the ICC code of conduct..time has come for ICC to review it...i am really upset with the way australians behave in the cricket field..Hope tony cozier raises this issue at a big level to save the spirit of the game.........

Posted by sharktale on (December 20, 2009, 7:40 GMT)

Rightly said Tony Cozier. Aussies are developing a habit of getting in altercations with every other team they face and are getting away with it. They shud be heavily fined for their excessive aggression.

Posted by JFAB on (December 20, 2009, 7:23 GMT)

Well Tony, the difference is the physical contact. Benn grabbed Johnson in the initial contact and also made contact wth Johnson when heading down the wicket to respond to Haddin. I don't excuse the Australians but the higher charge to me reflects them shift from unacceptable verbal behaviour to initiating unacceptable physical contact. Difficult to cop this article when we had the debacle of Harbhajan's appeal a few years ago. Also I note today that again Aussies are apparenttly a problem for daring to appeal for the Roach dismissal. Bowden gave him out which is not mentioned in Peter English's review (not the third umpire - who only was unable to reverse the decision). Of course the critics are assuming he did not snick it and that the Aussies all knew this. Snicko suggestsd a faint touch and the Aussies and Bowden thought so too. Of course if he did nick it he was entitled to ask for the review ( they had one left) - unless you are Australian - that wouldd apparently be cheating

Posted by Geraldine on (December 20, 2009, 7:20 GMT)

So once again Tony Cozier spits the dummy when a decision goes against the West Indies. Benn fully deserved the decision for sticking his leg in the way of Mitchell Johnson. Nothing wrong with players jostling, but what Benn did would have earned him a yellow card in soccer. Haddin's lifting of the bat was an innocuous response, but Benn again chose to go on and on and several expletives can be heard on the effects mike. Benn had no reason to be in middle of pitch during the break between overs other than to further inflame the situation. Had Benn not carried on like a kid in a candy store, Haddin's actions would have been forgotten a few seconds later. One also can't forget the arrogant and aggresive attitude that Benn has shown the Australian's all season when deciding whether the clash with Johnson was accidental or not. And then pleading innocent was surely the hight of insolence and the greatest proof that Benn didn't understand the meaning of the spirit of cricket.

Posted by JohnnyRook on (December 20, 2009, 7:18 GMT)

I guess this is a sentiment shared by all non-Australians. Thanks to the author for bringing it up. The ICC must explain what did Benn do which Australian duo didn't. WI management made a big mistake by not appealing against it. If you think something is unfair, you should do everything you can do legally to get the fair treatment. No real point sending a "letter of protest" and all that stuff.

Posted by sameeullah on (December 20, 2009, 7:15 GMT)

I also get same impression from the decisions made by Broad.But i don't know wether benn was guilty or haddin,johson! if haddin and johson were not guilty and benn was, then there is no sense to give same treatment to innocent as guilty one. but i agree with you that atleast the match refree should explain why he leaving some one and why he is charging other. i also get impression that some team's player get away from the charges while other are fined heavily on same issues :). i think ICC should fine tune the system to give justice to players.

Posted by Ricktos on (December 20, 2009, 7:13 GMT)

Surely pleading guilty shows that you accept that you have done wrong and that would lead to a smaller sentence. Benn pleading not-guilty shows that he doesn't accept thqt he damaged the reputation of the game and I hope he learns his lesson byu being suspended. On channel 9 before play on day 4, Haddin said he had gone to far and should not have done it and he should have just left it alone. So he knows and regretrs his actions. I have seen no such signs from Benn.

Posted by Naresha on (December 20, 2009, 7:13 GMT)

Thanks to Tony Cozier for bringing this up. It needed to be said. There is no point asking Chris Broad to be fair or to explain his actions, and the ICC will surely turn a blind eye. Broad has a history of inconsistent and arbitrary decisions, and he hasn't felt the need to explain himself before. After the Mohali Ind-Aus test in 2008, Broad fined Zaheer Khan 80% of his match fees for giving Mathew Hayden a send off. This, after Khan had apologised and pleaded guilty, and after "considering his good disciplinary record". Now, Watson is fined 15% of his match fees for sending-off Gayle, and we know about his disciplinary record.

Posted by regjon on (December 20, 2009, 7:09 GMT)

What I don't understand is why Haddin, as the instigator of that ugly incident, has been let off with such a small fine. It was just a harmless case of a bowler running into a batsman that was blown up by Haddin's gesturing. And somehow, Benn gets a ban while Haddin gets away with a fine simply because he pleaded guilty. The question this raises is that what exactly has been punished here? Benn's lack of understanding that he would have been let off if he pleaded guilty or his behavior, which was surely unacceptable? And as for the Watson incident, why hasn't the captain been penalized in any way? The picture shows him celebrating in Gayle's face while his bowler is howling ... Or maybe it was just consideration for an injured elbow. We'll never really know how some of these match referees work.

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