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Ravi Bopara says his grip for knuckle ball was mistaken for ball-tampering

His penalty has been reduced from a three-match ban to a fine of 75% of his match fee and three demerit points

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Sylhet Sunrisers captain Ravi Bopara has had his penalty for "changing the condition of the ball" reduced from a three-match ban to a fine of 75% of his match fee and three demerit points.
The incident had occurred during Sylhet's game against Khulna Tigers on February 7, and, initially, match referee Debabrata Paul had imposed the ban. But following Bopara's appeal on February 8, the BPL technical committee reduced the match referee's ruling.
Later, at a press conference* after the match against Comilla Victorians, Bopara claimed that his grip for the knuckle ball was mistaken for ball-tampering. Bopara brought a ball to the press conference room anticipating the question. Showing how he bowls the knuckle ball, he explained that he grips it in a particular way if the ball is wet.
"I bowl a knuckle ball where I run in hiding the ball," he said. "Sometimes I run in holding it like this and that (displays his grips). It is not easy to get this grip, especially with the wet ball. You have to find the best part of the ball to put it. Otherwise, if the ball is wet, it can fly and you can bowl no-balls [for height].
"I think there was a mistake there. It is disappointing but this is life."
Bopara was caught on camera running his finger over the ball during the ninth over of the Khulna innings. The on-field umpires Mahfuzur Rahman and Prageeth Rambukwella duly stopped play and changed the ball during the over, and docked Sylhet five runs. They had brought the charge against Bopara to the match referee, relating to changing the condition of the ball which is a breach of clause 41.3 of the BPL's match playing conditions.
A BCB statement on Friday read: "The technical committee reversed the suspension and executed the fine in accordance with the authority awarded to it in Article of the [tournament's] code of conduct which states that 'the Technical Committee shall have the power to increase or decrease, amend or otherwise substitute a new decision on the appropriateness (or otherwise) of the sanction imposed at first instance'. It is further confirmed as per Article that, 'Any decision made by the Technical Committee under this Article 8.2, shall be the full, final and complete disposition of the matter and will be binding on all parties'."
If Bopara gets another demerit point during this tournament, he will get a one-match suspension. Every four demerit points translate into a one-match suspension as per Article 7.5 of the code of conduct.
*1740 GMT The copy was updated after the press conference

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84