South Africa news January 22, 2013

Lions hit by De Kock, Tahir bans

ESPNcricinfo staff

The Lions have been dealt a major blow in their quest for the first-class title. Key playmakers Quinton de Kock and Imran Tahir have been banned for one match each following disciplinary hearings.

Both players pleaded guilty to Level 2 offences which result in a ban of one first-class or two limited-overs game in accordance with CSA's code of conduct.

De Kock was involved in an on-field scuffle with Cape Cobras' Alistair Gray last week. After the umpires asked for the ball to be changed because of suspected tampering, the Lions pair at the crease chose a ball the Cobras were unhappy with and Gray and de Kock exchanged words before de Kock pushed Gray.

The day after the story hit local media, de Kock tweeted an apology for "embarrassing" his team and pledged to "do everything I can to make up for it." His contriteness was noted by the disciplinary commissioner.

"I find Mr de Kock guilty of a breach of clause 6.3.1 (c) and (f) of the Code of Conduct in that he inappropriately and deliberately had physical contact with a player in the course of play; and used language that is seriously obscene, offensive or insulting towards another participant," disciplinary commissioner Rian Cloete said in a statement.

"Mr de Kock has a clean disciplinary record and has never been charged with an offence in cricket. Mr de Kock further apologised to umpires George and Jerling for his behaviour. "

Even though the bans apply to the next matches a player will feature in, de Kock who is currently playing for South Africa in the ODI series against New Zealand will be able to continue representing the national side. Instead, he will miss the Lions' match against the Knights in two weeks' time.

Tahir's offence came in a match against the Knights late last year in Potchefstroom. After an interchange of angry words between the Knights' bowlers and Tahir, the legspinner issued some choice words from the dressing room for all to hear before going on to score his fourth first-class fifty. Tahir, who offered apology in writing, was charged with the breach of clause 6.3.1 (f) as well.

Tahir will miss this week's match between the Lions and the Titans in Benoni which could prove an important one for the Lions as they try to catch the leaders. The Lions are third on the points table, 13 points behind the Cobras but they have a game in hand. De Kock will miss this fixture because he is part of the national squad