Matt Coles has received an automatic suspension from the ECB's cricket discipline commission and will miss Kent's next two Championship games. Kent's cricket chairman, Graham Johnson, has condemned the decision as "disproportionate".
Coles' absence is a big blow to Kent who escaped a weather-affected start to the season by beating Glamorgan at Canterbury to move into the top half of Division Two of the Specsavers Championship but who remain relatively light on seam bowling resources.
He was reported by umpires Nick Cook and Rob Bailey during Kent's match against Glamorgan for a Level Two breach of the code - throwing the ball at or near a player, umpire or official in an inappropriate and dangerous manner.
He had previously received a reprimand following three penalty points following a Level 1 breach in August 2014 and six penalty points following a Level 2 breach in September 2014. The penalty for a subsequent breach at Level 2 within 24 months is six penalty points.
The ECB statement read: "Coles has therefore received a total of twelve penalty points, triggering an automatic suspension. He is suspended from all cricket under the jurisdiction of the ECB until and including Wednesday 18th May 2016 - a period which covers Kent's next two First XI fixtures."
Coles took 67 wickets at 23.49 for Kent last summer after returning to his home county following a brief spel at Hampshire where he never settled.
Johnson expressed frustration at the decision. "In the light of the steps taken by the ECB cricket discipline commission I feel it only right to defend the position of Matt Coles," he said. "Since his return to Kent, at the start of last season, Matt has demonstrated that he has learnt from things in the past. He has applied himself to his role on the field and represented Kent Cricket, to good effect, in off field activities.
"Players carry points over a 24 month period and the two previously reported incidents are from August 2014 whilst Matt was at Hampshire. Kent made representations to the CDC regarding the breach. However, the CDC Chairman's nominee, Mr Chris Tickle, did not consider that the consequences of this penalty might produce a result that was manifestly unfair. Under the process relating to cricket discipline there is no opportunity to appeal the outcome or the CDC's decision.
"The outcome in this set of circumstances I believe is disproportionate, it does not reflect the seriousness of the recent incident and does nothing to help a cricketer who has made such big strides since returning to Kent."
Glamorgan's Chris Cooke was reported by the umpires during the same match for a Level One breach of the code (abuse of cricket ground, equipment and/or fixtures and fittings). He was reprimanded.
Stuart Broad also picked up a reprimand after he was reported by umpires Richard Kettleborough, Michael Gough and Richard Illingworth during Nottinghamshire's Championship match against Yorkshire for a Level One breach of the code - showing dissent at an umpire's decision by word or action).