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February 9, 2013
India seamer Praveen Kumar, who is on the comeback trail after missing most of the Ranji season due to the recurrence of a tennis elbow injury, could be in trouble for a "serious" breach of the players' code of conduct in a Corporate Trophy game. The BCCI is expected to decide on what action, if any, is to be taken against him next week.
On February 4, Praveen had sworn at an opposition batsman while playing for Oil and Natural Gas Limited (ONGC) in the Corporate Trophy: he hurled swear words at Income Tax batsman Ajitesh Argal despite the on-field umpires warning him. The umpires subsequently charged him for a code of conduct breach and match referee Dhananjay Singh found him guilty on two counts.
According to the match referee's report, which is in possession of ESPNcricinfo, Praveen pleaded guilty on both charges, under clause 2.2.8 and 2.4.2. "As per the BCCI guidelines, the penalty imposed for the offence is a 100% fine of the match fee under Level-2 (for repeating the offence within 12 months) and a serious warning not to indulge in such acts in future. For the other offence, you are charged during the same ball. The matter has been referred to chief administrative office [CAO] of the BCCI for further action, since it is charged under Level-4," Dhananjay Singh wrote in his report, which was submitted to the BCCI.
As per the BCCI procedures, after the report has been submitted, the CAO is supposed to take a call on the matter within seven days. So, Ratnakar Shetty is expected to decide on how the case will move forward during the coming week. If Praveen, who is contracted with the BCCI, is found guilty, he could be banned for up to four matches.
"Whatever the action or decision will be, the board won't discuss it in public," a BCCI official said.
Besides submitting the report, Dhananjay Singh has also written a letter to BCCI's game development manager, KVP Rao, questioning Praveen's mental condition. He wrote: "I would like to report to you that at present Mr Praveen Kumar is not in a mental frame to play the game. He is very aggressive and gets hostile with little trigger. He is very abusive and passes very filthy comments to his own team-mates, opponents and even to spectators. During the first match also (ONGC v CAG on February 1) he had a spat with spectators at the international stadium in Raipur. It was told to me by the other match referee Mr Prakash Bhatt. Even his own team-mates are keeping some distance from him."
The episode highlighted Praveen's tendency to lose his temper frequently. In 2008, he had allegedly come to blows with a doctor during a fracas in Meerut, his hometown. During India's tour to the West Indies in 2011, Praveen was involved in a spat with spectators in Port of Spain. Soon after, during the series in England where he proved his worth as a Test bowler, he had reacted angrily to fans' taunts during a tour game in Northamptonshire.
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