Ireland wicketkeeper found guilty of Level 2 offence September 3, 2006

O'Brien receives one-match ban by match referee

Cricinfo staff

O'Brien was found guilty of a Level 2 offence © Getty Images

Ireland's Niall O'Brien has been banned for one ICC Intercontinental Cup match after being found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct and has been warned over his future conduct. O'Brien, the Ireland wicketkeeper, was found guilty of a Level 2 offence during Ireland's ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Scotland in Aberdeen last month.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the conditions of the pitch to the groundsman, Ken McCurdie, after heavy overnight rain got under the covers and prevented a restart in play on the third day of the match.

David Jukes, the match referee, found him guilty of clause 2.8, which refers to "Using language that is obscene, offensive or of a seriously insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator.

"The heavy rain that ruined a fascinating match was a cause of frustration for everyone concerned but that was no excuse for Mr O'Brien's outburst," Jukes said. "Mr O'Brien let himself and his team down and, although he has since apologised, he and all other players need to be aware that such inappropriate conduct has consequences.

"As one of the few fully professional cricketers taking part in the match Mr O'Brien should have been setting an example rather than behaving in this manner.

The charge against Mr O'Brien was lodged by ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed and the hearing took place via teleconference. Ireland's next ICC Intercontinental Cup match is against the UAE next February. In addition to O'Brien, his captain Trent Johnston, the Scotland captain Craig Wright and Peter Drinnen, the Scotland coach, were all charged with the Level 1 offence of "Public criticism of, or inappropriate comment on, a match related incident or match official."

"Public criticism of officials undermines the fundamental principles on which the game has been built," Jukes commented. "They include the fact that the umpires are the sole judges of fair and unfair play and that it is against the spirit of the game to dispute a decision by word, action or gesture."