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Alan Gardner in Chittagong
March 23, 2014
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."
Shame to be fined. Back to bland and unopinionated press conferences I'm afraid. Draw a line onto the next game!— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) March 23, 2014
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 hereFeeds: Alan Gardner
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