July 14, 2003

Cork handed fine and suspended sentence

Wisden CricInfo staff

Dominic Cork has been given a three-match ban, suspended for 12 months, and fined £1000 at an ECB disciplinary hearing at Lord's. Cork, Derbyshire's captain, admitted he was in breach of ECB regulations after calling an opposition player a cheat.

The incident occurred during Derbyshire's fractious Twenty20 Cup match against Leicestershire at Grace Road. Derbyshire lost by one run, a result which cost them a place in this Saturday's semi-finals, but the match was effectively decided when Brad Hodge took a catch in the deep, and then carried the ball over the boundary rope.

A six ought to have been awarded to Derbyshire, who immediately lodged a protest, but the ECB refused to reverse the result. Cork had called Hodge a cheat after the teams left the field, which the ECB accepted was understandable in the heat of the moment, but then compounded the matter in an interview with the Daily Mail.

"I blame the win-at-all-costs culture of cheating which is taking cricket down the road that has made football such a sleazy game," Cork was quoted as saying. "In football it's diving, shirt-pulling, conning refs and feigning injury. In cricket, it is claiming catches on the bounce, pretending that the ball hasn't gone over the rope and players standing their ground when they've thick-edged it to slip."

His statements were a clear breach of ECB rules 4.2 and 4.3, which prohibit players and officials from making any statement which constitutes a verbal attack on another individual who is subject to the same jurisdiction. Although Michael Vaughan and Dicky Bird both provided character references, Cork was handed a suspended sentence and fined £500, as well as a further £500 in costs.

Meanwhile, Hodge is threatening legal action. Leicestershire's general manager Kevin Hill told BBC Sport he expected to discuss the matter with Hodge on Tuesday. Any decision, however, would rest with the player.