Nottinghamshire will begin the 2021 season with the threat of a points deduction hanging over them, as well as a possible one-match ban for their captain Dan Christian, after receiving a suspended sanction from the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) following five disciplinary breaches in the course of their successful T20 Blast campaign.
Notts claimed the Blast title for the second time in four seasons last month, when they beat Surrey by six wickets in the final at Edgbaston on October 4, with Christian, 36, claiming the Player of the Match award in both that victory and their semi-final win over Lancashire.
However, in the course of their campaign, Notts also racked up five fixed penalties in the space of as many weeks, triggering a remote disciplinary hearing, held on November 19 and chaired by Mike Smith, alongside Paul Parker and Tom Poynton.
One of the incidents that may have contributed to the sanction came in the semi-final, when Nottinghamshire's batsmen were warned by the umpires for the use of audible obscenities, for which the broadcasters Sky Sports issued an on-air apology. They were also threatened with a five-run penalty in the case of any further transgressions, a sanction that had been used against them earlier in the competition, when Steven Mullaney was penalised for simulating a sliding stop in the outfield, during their group-stage defeat by Leicestershire at Grace Road.
At the hearing, the club was charged with a breach of ECB Directive 3.6.21, for incurring those five penalty breaches within a period of 12 months, and Christian was charged under ECB Directive 3.5, given that he had been captain on each of these five occasions.
The sanctions will be dependant on the conduct of Nottinghamshire's players in 2021, but the club faces a two-point deduction in the Blast and/or Royal London Cup, and/or a 16-point penalty in the County Championship if there are two or more further transgressions in the next 12 months.
The precise nature of the deductions will be decided by the panel depending on the seriousness of any future breaches and the competition in which they occur, while Christian's suspension will be automatically triggered if any player is sanctioned during a match for which he is Notts captain.
In a statement, the ECB said that the panel had noted Nottinghamshire's previous good disciplinary record and the honourable way that it had approached the charges, but reminded the club that breaches of discipline are a matter of serious concern.