England news September 6, 2010

Pietersen, Mascarenhas fined for Twitter outbursts

Cricinfo staff

Kevin Pietersen and Dimitri Mascarenhas have been fined for their respective Twitter outbursts as England cricketers struggle to adapt to social media. Pietersen attended a disciplinary hearing at Lord's on Monday and pleaded guilty to two charges, following the post he made after being omitted from England's one-day squad, while repeating his apology from last week.

Pietersen found himself in trouble after updating his twitter account following his omission for the Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan. He was instead dispatched to Surrey to regain form after a disappointing season with the bat.

"Done for rest of summer!! Man of the World Cup T20 and dropped from the T20 side too. Its a f**k up!!," Pietersen posted on his account kevinpp24. He deleted it minutes later, but not before it had been picked up by several users and circulated around the internet.

"The hearing considered his comments to be prejudicial to the interests of Team England and ECB and a significant breach of the England player conditions of employment," a statement said. "He has been fined an undisclosed sum in accordance with the terms and conditions of his England central contract."

Stuart Broad said that he wasn't interested in joining Twitter and players needed to be aware of their responsibilities. "You go on Twitter to put yourself out there don't you, to get in the public domain and to let your voice be heard," he said. "But the players are aware of the responsibilities you have with that.

"We know that you have followers and people are always aware of what you are writing. If you write something a little bit controversial you know it's going to make headlines so whether sometimes that is deliberate, with pop stars and film stars to create a headline, but as sportsmen we are aware we have a responsibility to not only ourselves but to our team-mates. It is not something I have got too involved with but it is out there."

Pietersen isn't the only cricketer in hot water over Twitter comments with Mascarenhas, the injured Hampshire captain, launching a stinging attack on Geoff Miller, the national selector, over the weekend and he has been fined £1000 by his county.

"Chairman of selectors came to Liverpool and didn't even come and say hi.. what a p****.. Doesn't take much to say hello does it?" was one of two messages he posted which led to Hampshire taking action and Mascarenhas only escaped a ban because of his long-term injury.

"I realise that my actions were stupid and irresponsible and I regret any offence I may have caused," Mascarenhas said. "I apologise specifically to Geoff Miller who has always treated me fairly. I also apologise to Hampshire Cricket whom I feel I have let down. This was a silly, late-night conversation that got out of control and doesn't reflect my true views on Mr. Miller.

"I have learnt a great deal about the dangers of social networking sites and encourage other players to think carefully before signing up to them."

Rod Bransgrove, the Hampshire chairman, also warned of the risks of using social media. "Hampshire Cricket regrets the entire incident which, although thoroughly out of character for Dimitri Mascarenhas, breaches the club's code of conduct," he said. "Further, it will be warning all players about the dangers of conducting personal or private dialogue on publicly-available media.

"The fine has been set at this high level as I feel there is little point in imposing a ban, given the long-term nature of his injury. In coming to this conclusion I have taken into consideration Dimi's previous exemplary record. However, as club captain he understands that his actions carry more responsibility than others."

Earlier this season Azeem Rafiq, the Yorkshire offspinner, was fined and suspended from all cricket for a month after a Twitter attack on John Abrahams, the England Under-19 manager, following his omission from the second Test against Sri Lanka.

However, despite the recent indiscretions it appears the ECB are going to stop short of banning players from Twitter as was originally thought a few weeks ago. From the current squad Graeme Swann and James Anderson are prolific, while Tim Bresnan - who himself got in trouble last year - and Steven Finn also have accounts.

"Jimmy and Swanny are two good examples of good Tweeters if there is such a thing," Broad said. "What they do really well is that they don't make statements about teams, they use it as a joke and don't write mundane boring things. It's all good fun. Ultimately we are responsible as players and we are employed by people above us so if they choose to get rid of it that is a situation that people will have to deal."