India quick Ishant Sharma and Pakistan keeper Kamran Akmal have been fined for their altercation in the closing overs of the Pakistan innings in Bangalore on Tuesday. The players had been involved in a heated argument in the 18th over of the chase, which Pakistan eventually completed successfully to win the first Twenty20 by five wickets.
Both players were reported to the match referee, Roshan Mahanama, by the umpires - S Ravi, C Shamsuddin, TV umpire VA Kulkarni and fourth umpire K Srinath - and charged with 'conduct contrary to the spirit to the game'. They both pleaded guilty, and Kamran was fined 5% of his match fee. Ishant, though, appealed against the penalty levied; after reviewing video footage and reiterating his view that Ishant had initiated the incident, Mahanama fined Ishant 15% of his fee.
Mahanama said with this series being so high profile, it became all the more important for the players to set the right example: "This is clearly a high profile and high-intensity series, and the players on both sides have been reminded of their responsibility. Both players recognised their duty to set the right type of example through their on-field behaviour and they have accepted that they fell short of the level of conduct required.
"The game was played in the true spirit till this incident was initiated by Ishant, who is an experienced cricketer."
The incident occurred soon after Ishant had the well-set Shoaib Malik caught of a ball that was deemed too high to be legal. Earlier the same over, Ishant had claimed Pakistan's other set batsman, Mohammad Hafeez. With the pressure building and a tight finish in view, Ishant beat Kamran and, after exchanging words in his follow-through, the two ended up standing inches apart from each other, yelling. Suresh Raina - followed by his India team-mates - came between the two, as did the umpires, but the talk continued for a while. When Ishant caught Kamran off Ashok Dinda in the next over, he was quite vocal in his celebration.
This series is a marquee one, as it revives bilateral ties between the neighbours. The previous one-on-one series between the teams was five years earlier, in late 2007, with bilateral ties hitting a roadblock following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.