One of the more bizarre disciplinary cases in the history of the ICC refereeing system took a new turn on Saturday. The controversial suspension imposed on West Indian wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs on Thursday for "cheating" was altered after it was acknowledged that he would not have missed out on any games he was scheduled to take part in.
Jacobs' unprecedented three-match ODI suspension, deferred for six weeks to take effect during the West Indies' tour of Kenya next month, was amended yesterday by Coca-Cola Cup tournament match referee Denis Lindsay after it was confirmed that Jacobs was in fact not part of the WI team scheduled to play in Kenya.
Instead, Jacobs will now be forced to miss the Second Test against Zimbabwe, to be played in Harare from 27 to 31 July. He will be free to play for the West Indies in all of their matches prior to this date, including two threeday tour matches and the First Test in Bulawayo on July 19-23.
Lindsay found on Thursday that Jacobs was guilty of a breach of the Players and Officials Code of Conduct, and of a transgression of the "Spirit of Cricket", as codified in the preamble to the Laws of the game. The breaches occurred when Jacobs failed to recall a batsman incorrectly given out stumped in Wednesday's one-day game against India in Harare. Indian batsman Virender Shewag was given out by umpire Kevin Barbour without referral to the third umpire upon appeal by a number of West Indian players, but not including Jacobs himself. Television replays showed that Jacobs broke the wicket with his right hand while the ball was held separately in his left.
The decision to suspend Jacobs for the Kenyan games (to be played in Nairobi on August 15, 18 and 19) was all the more baffling as the WICB had already announced over three weeks earlier that he was leaving the WI tour after the Zimbabwe leg, to be replaced by Barbados keeper Courtney Browne.
On Thursday CricInfo sought clarification from the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, the host authority for the Coca-Cola Cup. The ZCU then contacted WICB chief executive Gregory Shillingford who confirmed that Jacobs was not going to Kenya. Lindsay then announced his decision to revoke the original suspension, replacing it with the ban for the Second Zimbabwe Test.
Notwithstanding the controversy over the charges leading to Jacobs' suspension, it is yet to be explained just how Lindsay was able to impose the original, incorrect, three-match Kenyan ban. Present at Thursday's hearing were Jacobs himself, along with West Indian captain Carl Hooper, coach Roger Harper, and manager Ricky Skerritt.