Pakistan in South Africa, 2006-07 February 9, 2007

Nazir escapes punishment

Cricinfo staff

Imran Nazir impressed with the bat at Durban, but nearly found himself in trouble © AFP
Pakistan's opening batsmen Imran Nazir has been found not guilty of breaching the ICC code of conduct during his country's ODI against South Africa at Durban on Wednesday. Both teams have also been spoken to by Chris Broad, the match referee, about their conduct.

Nazir was charged by the South Africa team management with a Level one offence, clause 1.4, which refers to "Using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and/or the making of an obscene gesture."

The alleged incident took place when Nazir and Andre Nel had an exchange of views during the Pakistan innings. Broad convened a hearing the day after the match in question, following the arrival of both teams in Port Elizabeth, and, after giving the matter further consideration overnight, arrived at his not guilty verdict on Friday.

Broad said: "There was no doubt that some strong language was used on the field but I felt it was important to take into account the context in which it took place. I formed the view it was a passing remark between two players in the heat of a match and on that basis I decided it did not require action from me.

"Players must be aware that they cannot go around abusing each other right, left and centre and expect to avoid punishment and if that type and level of abuse is reported and the player is found guilty then I will take firm action.

"However, I believe players must still be able to display and express a degree of emotion and passion on the field because they are not robots; they are human beings and we must have some recognition of that."

Broad also explained that he spoke to the captains and team managers of both sides before the start of the third ODI. "I have seen indications of rising tensions among the two sets of players over the course of the Test and ODI series," he said, "and I wished to remind everyone of their responsibilities to each other and the game in ensuring everyone upholds the spirit of cricket."

"I believe my message was understood and I look forward to seeing the remainder of matches in this series played in the best traditions of top level cricket, hard but fair."

The tour has been hit by some bad-tempered situations. Herschelle Gibbs was banned for a Test, Twenty20 and ODI after making comments during the first Test at Centurion Park and Shahid Afridi faces a ban after pushing his bat at a spectator during the first ODI.