February 15, 2002

Bell receives one match suspension for Code violation

New Zealand Cricket's clean-up operation in the player behaviour stakes has claimed another victim - Wellington captain Matthew Bell who has received a one match suspension.

The decision was made by Northern Districts code of conduct commissioner Gerald Bailey.

Umpires Mike George and Brent Bowden submitted a report claiming unacceptable behaviour of Bell after he was given out leg before wicket by umpire George.

Bell was struck on the pad by Graeme Aldridge and as Bell ran down the pitch he received the decision from George.

The umpires claimed that Bell then uttered the words "f... off" while facing George.

The only doubt raised in the hearing was whether Bell had used the words "f... off" or, as he claimed "for f... sake".

Bailey commented that Bell agreed umpire George was entitled to assume the comments were directed to him.

"If Bell's intention had been simply and solely to chastise himself for playing a foolish shot, then he could have done so then or subsequently, without giving the umpire the impression that his comments were directed to him."

Bailey said a breach of the code of conduct had been established.

"Even if Bell's language was directed at himself, the fact that he used the crude language while looking directly at the umpire amounts in my view to 'showing dissent' as well as reacting in a 'disapproving manner'.

New Zealand Cricket will not appeal the sentence.