County news August 12, 2013

Surrey critical of Batty's ban

Surrey have criticised the ECB's decision to ban their captain, Gareth Batty, for two games following his altercation with Somerset's Peter Trego during the Friend Life t20 quarter-final at The Oval. The ban means Batty will miss Finals Day on August 16.

Batty, the Surrey captain, was found guilty of two level two breaches of the ECB's code of conduction relating to "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact" and "using language or a gesture that is obscene or of a serious insulting nature".

The incident occurred when Trego was bowled by Batty and began walking back to the pavilion, which took him towards Surrey's celebrating players. Batty was then seen to collide with Trego, whether by accident or on purpose, while also mouthing obscenities towards him.

While Surrey have accepted that Batty was wrong to have used insulting language, they insist that any physical contact was accidental and feel the ECB should have convened a full disciplinary panel. That, Surrey claim, would have afforded Batty the opportunity to explain his actions and view the video footage alongside the panel and other witnesses.

"Having now studied the evidence available the club does not yet understand why he has also been found guilty of a deliberate act to physically confront Trego," Surrey's chief executive Richard Gould said.

"The video shows him veering away from the pitch with his eyes focused on the wicketkeeper when the seemingly accidental contact with Trego takes place. The ECB's cricket discipline commission obviously viewed the matter very seriously given both the public comments on Friday and the decision to ban Gareth from Finals Day.

"The club would have preferred for a full disciplinary panel to have been convened so the full facts could have been established in the most transparent manner possible, and hope that it is not too late to still do so. The club believe that there are a number of uneven mechanisms within the CDC's processes and we will be providing the ECB with a summary of constructive observations."

Batty said: "I always play the game with passion and determination. But I sincerely apologise for the verbal exchange that took place during the quarter final. I am very disappointed that I will not be able to lead the team for FLt20 Finals Day on Saturday.

"However, I find it difficult to accept the second charge and the comments which stated that I deliberately sought to confront Peter Trego in a physical manner; which I believe video footage does not support and I categorically deny. I've been handed a significant punishment and had some very upsetting and unfair comments made about my character."

Gerard Elias QC, the chairman of the cricket discipline commission (CDC), described Batty's behaviour as "appalling" and said he did consider whether further action should be taken along with the immediate suspension but decided not to refer the matter to a disciplinary panel.

"Plainly, he acted contrary to the spirit of the game and in a way which brings cricket into disrepute and failed to set the leadership example expected," Elias said. "Not only was he involved in deliberately and inappropriately physically confronting a batsman he had just dismissed, he subsequently engaged in a foul-mouthed tirade at the batsman."

While Surrey feel Batty's punishment is harsh, they hold no hope of it being overturned ahead of Finals Day.

In accordance with ECB rules, Batty's ban was actually automatic once he was reported by the umpires and the CDC. The penalty for a first level two offence is three points and the penalty for a second level two offence within 24 months is six points. Batty has therefore received a total of nine penalty points, which triggers an automatic suspension for a period of two matches. The only area of discretion for the CDC was delaying the suspension so that it covered t20 finals day.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hugh on August 13, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    In football thsi sort of stuff is described as 'passion' , 'will to win', 'being competitive' - in other words, show little or no respect because winning is all that matters. I don't want to watch players behaving this way but it will happen more often. The authorities might decide to stamp on it but its hypocritical because its in the nature of the game they've created.

  • Michael on August 13, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    That's twenty twenty for you-cricket's imitation of football. It is not really the man but the format, with all it's hype.

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    @NutCutlet Batty was heard. From the stands, and across the nation's living rooms.

  • ian on August 13, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Batty has a right to be heard. It's called natural justice.

  • Dan on August 13, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    Surrey player behaves appallingly. Surrey player gets banned. Surrey player whinges. Surrey support player. Not terribly edifying is it?

  • John on August 13, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    What happened between the two players BEFORE Trego was dismissed? Was one of them trying to wind the other up? Was there some sledging? It seems strange if a serious incident like this just happened out of nowhere and if there was no previous history, however brief. If so, then surely the umpires were at fault for failing to nip it in the bud, as so often they fail to do when players start sledging and winding each other up on the field, and they choose to ignore it early on.

  • Ray on August 13, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    I didn't see it - the well known Wenger defence! - but by the sound of things, it was a nasty little incident, and it's difficult to feel much sympathy for either Batty or Surrey.

    However, anyone lambasting Batty should remember his achievements last season, when he took over the captaincy in the most trying of circumstances and pulled the club through. I doubt that many other players would have been up to the job.

    BTW: I'm not sure that ECB have the right to demand that the captaincy be taken off him?

  • Dummy4 on August 12, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    The ECB were absolutely right to ban Batty and I feel that the ban is spot on. Also, I hope the ECB removes the captaincy from him permanently if another occurs. Whenever I've seen him Batty has seemed a complete hot-head who's incapable of controlling his emotions on the pitch. I can't think of any other county captain who would have behaved in this way. As a Somerset fan I've seen him perform another major deliberate act that wasn't in the spirit of the game so it doesn't come as a shock. I hope these comments about his character were upsetting enough that he changes but to be honest I doubt it.

  • Derek on August 12, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    I am disappointed that Surrey feels this way their leader is not solely appointed for his passion for the game but his LEADERSHIP qualities. I accompanied a former player (AMPUTEE) and sat in the family area his utterance was both audible and visual. Most of the children who sat with their parent will believe that is the norm. If they are presented with information or when they go to Edgbaston and find he is not playing they will know that his behaviour is not acceptable and never try to emulate him.

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