Incident in the Central Lancashire League

Vermeulen banned for 10 years

Cricinfo staff

September 13, 2006

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Mark Vermeulen won't be back in English cricket for 10 years © Getty Images
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Mark Vermeulen, the former Zimbabwe batsman, has been banned from English first-class and league cricket for 10 years following an on-pitch bust up in the Central Lancashire League.

The incident occurred when Vermeulen, playing as a professional for Werneth against Ashton, confronted opposition fans on Sunday. He was restrained by club officials before his captain ordered him off the field and he was led from the ground. Darren Shadford, the Werneth captain, then conceded the match.

Jon Selby, who was playing for Ashton in the match, told Cricinfo the chain of events. "He'd been a bit wound up throughout the match. He hadn't scored many - about 12 - and when we batted he came onto bowl, which he doesn't do much of.

"He got hit for a boundary then bowled a wide and someone from the crowd shouted 'If you take your sunnies off you'll be able to see where you are bowling.' At the end of the over he marched towards the boundary and appeared to hurl a ball towards the spectators. It hit the railings so missed everyone, but it was an end-of-season match with plenty of women and children watching.

"He then picked up a boundary marker, which are white discs with a steel spike, before being stopped by a Werneth member and marched back to the pavilion, still swearing and shouting . He was then driven away from the ground and took no further part in the match. "

To add to the extraordinary story, it was the final match of the season and Vermeulen was due to fly home on Monday. One of the members who restrained him was meant to be giving him a lift to the airport.

Police were later called to an incident at a flat near the Werneth club and a spokesman confirmed they arrested a 27-year-old on suspicion of breaching the peace but no charges were brought.

Central Lancashire League officials were quick to impose the ban, which has been supported by the ECB. A statement said: "The management committee has received reports regarding Mark Vermeulen. Describing his violent and dangerous actions on the field of play, he has been banned for 10 years from the CLL and from all cricket played under the auspices of the ECB. This will take immediate effect."

Howard Donsfield, CLL chairman, and a former Werneth chairman, told the Oldham Advertiser: "I was at the game and hope I don't ever see anything like it again - it was a sad sight for cricket.

"Discipline is a big issue for me at present and I'm determined to stamp anything like this out. It's not just about spectators either - there was a 15-year-old boy among Vermeulen's team-mates and it's not the kind of example he should set."

Vermeulen, 27, has played eight Tests and 32 ODIs for Zimbabwe, and is no stranger to controversy. He was sent home during the second Test of the 2003 England tour after he ignored a management instruction to travel with the rest of the squad on the coach, instead choosing to leave the ground on his own.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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