Robert Key has been fined £1250 and reprimanded by the ECB following comments he made about the board's pitch inspectors during Kent's Championship match with Durham at Chester-le-Street last month.

Key's outburst came after 15 wickets fell on the first day and 23 on the second. "The ECB reckon there's nothing wrong with the pitch?" he fumed. "The pitch liaison officers, we had a few of them down here yesterday for an interview, which was just a bit of a Muppet Show.

"By all accounts there was no excessive seam movement which is absolutely ridiculous. Everyone who went out there to bat struggled. What has to happen for a pitch to get docked points now? 50 all out, plays 50 all out and the game over in a day?"

Asked specifically about the pitch inspectors, Key said: "Don't have [them], that's a waste of money as far as I'm concerned now. If you're not going to do anything about a pitch like that then why waste your money paying these guys a salary to travel around the country looking at wickets like these and doing nothing about it?"

The ECB was, unsurprisingly, unamused, issuing a terse statement. "Key's comments were deemed to be a serious breach of the directives by a senior player and captain, involving derogatory comment prejudicial to both the ECB and its members."

For his part, Key admitted his remarks were "inappropriate and I offer my unreserved apology to all concerned".