World T20 2014 March 23, 2014

Broad fined for umpire criticism


England captain Stuart Broad has been fined 15% of his match fee for comments following his team's rain-affected defeat against New Zealand.

England lost on the Duckworth-Lewis method and Broad questioned the timing of the umpires' decision to take the teams off the field. He pleaded guilty to a Level One charge of publicly criticising match officials.

Lightning was seen above the ground in Chittagong before five overs of the New Zealand innings had been completed - the amount required to constitute a match - but Aleem Dar and Paul Reiffel elected to keep the players on until the arrival of rain, which came after 5.2 overs, a decision that Broad described as "decidedly average".

It has also emerged that the ECB has urged the ICC to revise its regulations and ensure that players are taken off at the first sign of lightning in future. Decisions on when to suspend play due to adverse weather are currently in the hands of the umpires but Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, has asked ICC chief executive, David Richards, to institute a rethink.

"We have been having discussions of a very serious nature," Clarke told the Daily Mail. "These were extraordinary circumstances, and the umpires were in a tricky position. But if that had been a golf tournament, everyone would have been off.

"I completely see Stuart Broad's point. The safety of both the players and the crowd should be paramount if there's an electrical storm. If it happens again, they're almost certainly going to have to go straight off."

Broad's comments were, according to match referee Javagal Srinath, in breach of section 2.1.7 of the code of conduct for players. "Umpires are the final judges of the fitness of the ground, weather or light for play," Srinath said. "Weather decisions are the most difficult to make, but the umpires make the best decision possible, taking all factors into account.

"Such public criticism is not good for the spirit of the game. Mutual respect between players, match officials and administrators is paramount to the game of cricket."

Broad was visibly displeased after the game, although he did his best to remain "polite", saying that he thought the delay had put the safety of players and the crowd at risk. He received the backing of his team-mate Michael Lumb, who has experienced the frightening effects of lightning while growing up in Johannesburg.

"I think Stuart covered it in detail but, from a personal point of view, you don't mess around with lightning,'' Lumb said. "There are lives at stake. It was literally right above us and it was pretty scary.

"It would have been a different story if we were waking up this morning talking about guys who were struck by lightning. If we were on a golf course, we'd probably have been taken off. It's a serious thing and it's not to be messed with. I'd have been quite happy to go off the field earlier.

"It's something we need to look at and address. You do play in certain parts of the world where there will be lightning. It's a big factor and something has to be done."

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on March 25, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    To make the laws clear, the ICC needs to understand lightning. If there are thunder clouds about, even if the sky is clear, a lightning strike can occur. (Good example of this is a soccer match in Johannesburg a couple of years ago). In fact, this is more lethal that the normal lightning. The bolt can travel up to 40 KM (25 Miles). But there has to be consistency and it cannot be left up to the umpires for an on field decision.

  • John on March 24, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    @ Jaffa79 on (March 24, 2014, 15:35 GMT) To be fair - re the Oval test , the 2 teams made for a tense finish by positive play/declarations. Although it was kind of an anticlimax no one could have thought we would have got anywhere near that sort of finish early in the day

    @ jackiethepen on (March 24, 2014, 8:56 GMT) Bell scored a further 22 runs which proved to be crucial in the match score and it wasn't as though Bell was walking off for tea thinking that was the end of the session when a couple of players saw an unlikely opportunity

  • John on March 24, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    I think it's a difficult one. The umpires should be partly commended for making a result possible but there was a safety issue here - it wasn't just a rain thing. As I said before Broad should have come off as soon as BMac withdrew from action when Broad was in full stride regardless of whether he thought there was danger out there. BMac made the 1st move anyway. It's no good moaning about it after the event.

  • Colin on March 24, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    I can see both arguments really. I think as cricket fans, we can all acknowledge when these things go for you and against you, so the petty mudslinging just makes you look childish. More importantly, I think all cricketers and umpires should really try to stay playing and finish games as best as possible as it really damages the sport when games are abandoned. That final Ashes Test at the Oval is a particularly apt example of this. I have no issue with the umpires ruling but like all fans, just hope it is consistently enforced.

  • Dummy on March 24, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    Hard luck to England!!! They played so well. I think it should be 10 over to reach a result. How can u decide a match in 5 to 6 overs?

  • Peter on March 24, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    Do the match-day umpires owe a duty of care to the safety of the players (and spectators in the crowd), or a duty of care to the sponsors and tournament organisers who want to see the game "fulfilled"? When those duties are at odds with each other, safety MUST come first

  • Iraj on March 24, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    Feel sorry for Broady. This D/L method for such shorter games ruins the cricket. There should be a rule for that, at least 12-15 overs is a must for both teams. In a T20I anything can happen in just one over. For ODI's too, there should be certain limitations to apply D/L. IMO this game should be considered as a draw (both teams get 1-1) and NZ has the NRR advantage of their quick runs. Many matches played by SL in the last couple of months were close combats and decided in the final over & how could you decide within 2-3 overs? If you see SL vs SA or Aus/ Pak match what will happen if rain occurred within the mid-overs of the chase? The result will be the opposite. No offence to NZ and my congrats to them. But feel so sad about England though I'm a Sri Lankan. Good luck for the next matches.

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2014, 11:04 GMT

    In Queensland grade cricket we have a simple and effective rule for player safety in regard of lightning. I thought, perhaps mistakenly, that it came from the ICC. If thunder is followed by lightning within 30 seconds, you take the players off for 30 minutes. If there is another 30/30 occurrence within that 30 minutes, the cessation of play continues for another 30 minutes from that point. Its called the 30 30 30 rule and it works.

  • David on March 24, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    In the interest of consistency we should not be extrapolating an outcome when only 25% (5 overs of 2nd innings) is reached. It should ONLY be considered a game at the 40% mark (i.e. 8 overs in of 2nd innings) like they do in ODIs. It is a matter of only 3 overs (!!) and would be much more accurate in determining outcomes through statistical projection. The current system is crass and needs reviewing. It also adulterates the D/L method, making it look stupid, and unfair when in fact it is evidence based science, backed by past data. For the longer ODI a great alternative to D/L would be to adopt 5ives format of the game...Please consider ICC??? Google 5ives for those new to this idea.

  • david on March 24, 2014, 10:38 GMT

    The ICC is a disgrace, fining Broad for this is a an attack on free speech, if I was him I'd return home

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