Kirby given three-day ban
An ECB disciplinary hearing was held a Bristol today to consider the two separate allegations that Kirby knowingly and deliberately rubbed the ball on concrete and tarmac after it was hit into the car park.
The panel, which included the former Warwickshire seamer Tim Munton, found enough evidence to prove both charges and imposed the three-day suspension, which itself will be suspended until September 30, 2005 providing Kirby doesn't commit any futher offences.
Kirby issued a statement through the PCA and said: "I understand that I was in breach of Law 42.3 (b) but I am an honest player who has never intentionally altered the condition of the ball and I never will. I'm looking forward to putting this issue behind me, and concentrating on getting back on the field for Gloucestershire."
His sentiments were echoed by his employers. "We note that the penalty imposed is at the bottom end of the scale," said Tom Richardson, Gloucestershire's chief executive. "We are a team that always takes pride in playing within the rules, we are glad that a line has now been drawn under this affair and we now wish to move on".
PCA chief executive Richard Bevan commented: "The umpires are duty bound to change the ball as set out in Law 42.3 (d) (i), if the condition of the ball has been altered, as was alleged of Steve Kirby in Law 42.3 (b). According to the umpires report, there was no clear evidence that the match ball had been tampered with and the match ball was not changed."
Normally, interfering with the ball would be considered a very serious offence which would attract the maximum penalties a panel could impose. However, in arriving at its decision, the panel was not satisfied that on either occasion damaged was caused to the ball which materially altered its condition. Kirby was ordered to pay £125 towards the costs of the hearing.