June 27, 2003

Hodge considers legal action over Cork's 'cheat' accusation

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Brad Hodge is considering taking legal action after being called a "cheat" by Dominic Cork in the aftermath of Derbyshire's defeat by Leicestershire in the Twenty20 Cup on Tuesday.

Hodge appeared to have stepped over the boundary rope while taking a catch to dismiss Derbyshire's Steve Selwood in the penultimate over. The umpires consulted Hodge and then upheld the decision. "It's down to the win-at-all costs attitudes and blatant cheating which are making cricket more like football with every season, and which I hate," Cork fumed. "Hundreds of people saw Hodge run several feet over the rope, and thousands more have now seen him doing it on television. But when the umpire asked whether he had stayed inside the line he insisted that he had and he said the same to me, which is why I called him a cheat to his face."

The decision cost Derbyshire victory, and with it a place in the Twenty20 Cup semi-finals.

Kevin Hill, Leicestershire's general manager, said that Hodge was taking advice before deciding what action to take. "He refutes totally the allegation that he is a cheat," explained Hill. "He is currently considering seeking legal advice to ascertain whether he wishes to take the matter further."

Hodge denied that the catch was anything other than legitimate. "I caught the ball yards inside the rope and I was simply showing the ball to the crowd in celebration," he told the Daily Telegraph. "I had no idea of whether I stepped out of the arena because I wasn't watching where my feet were going at that stage, and that is what I told the umpire. But, in any event, the catch had been completed probably three or four seconds before and, as far as I am concerned, I could have done a handstand in the meantime."

Cork's anger was not limited to Hodge - he also lambasted Tim Lamb, the England & Wales Cricket Board's chief executive, for the ECB's response when the matter was referred to it, describing Lamb's handling of the affair as "pathetic".

"I regret the tone and substance of Dominic's remarks," Lamb said. "They lacked a balanced perspective of the reality of the circumstances."

Cork slams 'cheat' Hodge and 'pathetic' Lamb