Warne fined $5000 for captaincy charade
Melbourne Stars captain Shane Warne has been fined $5000 for breaching the CA Code of Behaviour when he handed the captaincy to James Faulkner in an effort to avoid a ban for slow over rates in the BBL semi-final against the Perth Scorchers.
It was the second time in the tournament Warne had been fined for a behaviour breach after he served a one-game suspension, and was fined $4500, for his clash with Melbourne Renegades player Marlon Samuels.
Warne was found guilty of breaching Rule 5: Laws of Cricket and Spirit of the Game by CA Commissioner Arthur Lodge.
In the semi-final at the WACA last Wednesday night, Faulkner was listed as captain on the Melbourne Stars team sheet and took part in the coin toss with Perth Scorchers captain Simon Katich, despite the presence of both regular captain Shane Warne and stand-in captain Cameron White in the Stars line-up.
Both Warne and White had previously been issued with one strike for a slow over rate violation, with a second strike this season resulting in an automatic one-match suspension.
In a bid to avoid the risk of a suspension, should the Stars advance to the final, Faulkner was given the official captaincy although Warne was clearly directing traffic throughout the match.
On 5 December 2012, KFC T20 Big Bash League teams were sent a Memo by Cricket Australia. Under the heading "Over Rates", the Memo stated, "If a team's official captain is selected but not named as captain, this will be considered against the Spirit of Cricket and may attract a Code of Behaviour charge."
This provision had been written in following Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene pulling a similar stunt during the World T20 Championship in October 2012. Having already been penalised for a slow over-rate in the tournament Jayawardene relinquished the captaincy to Kumar Sangakkara for Sri Lanka's Super Eights clash with England to avoid a possible suspension. Questions were raised over the legitimacy of Jayawardene's move, but the ICC never punished the Sri Lankan for it.
Warne was not present at the Code of Behaviour hearing. He was represented by Melbourne Stars CEO Clint Cooper and team manager Ben Robertson.
He did, however, respond to the verdict via a trio of messages on his Twitter account, claiming he had been unaware of the Memo. "Just got feedback that I was fined $5000 for spirit of cricket," he said. "Clarification - I had no idea about the rule/law... If I was aware of the law/rule I would have tossed the coin, to me I should have been informed and made aware by management!
"Anyway, disappointed it was not a Stars fine rather than me as I was never informed as I said... Glad you all understand now! This issue is for CA and Stars management whether it was a memo or a law. It was never passed on to me, if it was this wouldn't have happened!"
Mike McKenna, CA's executive general manager of operations and BBL chief, said it had been a clear rule breach, but was not perturbed by Warne's non-appearance at the hearing.
"The teams were notified before the season started that this rule was introduced for a very specific purpose," McKenna said in Melbourne. "And the very incident that occurred was that that we were trying to prevent happening. So it was absolutely open and closed as far as we were concerned.
"Shane was over here and the case was heard in Perth. On the night he was charged, we had a Code of Conduct commissioner ready to to to hear the case on the night, but it wasn't appropriate to conduct the hearing that night.
"So we just carried on as normal. It's not unusual for people not to appear if they don't have much of a defence in the circumstances."
Warne is unlikely to appear again in the BBL next season.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth