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Oversmart Ishant ends up with a heavier fine

Ishant Sharma and Kamran Akmal during the face-off in Bangalore, on
Tuesday. A Telegraph picture

Ahmedabad: In trying to be oversmart, India quick Ishant Sharma has ended up with a heavier fine, after contesting the original penalty imposed by Match Referee Roshan Mahanama.

It’s not official, but well-placed sources of The Telegraph have indicated that Ishant would have got away with a fine of 10 per cent of his match fee.

Now, after unsuccessfully appealing the sanction, Ishant has to fork out 15 per cent.

Mahanama held Ishant and Kamran Akmal, the Pakistan ’keeper, guilty of a Level 1 breach of the International Cricket Council’s Code of Conduct during Tuesday’s opening T20 International, in Bangalore.

Level 1 breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand. As for the maximum, it’s 50 per cent of a player’s match fee.

Both Ishant and Kamran pleaded guilty to the charge, basically that their ugly face-off had been contrary to the spirit of the game. But while the ’keeper accepted the fine amounting to 5 per cent of his match fee, Ishant chose to appeal his 10 per cent.

Accordingly, Mahanama convened a hearing in Bangalore on Wednesday morning, before the teams boarded a chartered flight for the trip here.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was present at the hearing.

The relevant footage was reviewed and the exercise “re-confirmed” that Ishant had “initiated” the “incident” in the 18th over of Pakistan’s innings.

Former India captain Kapil Dev had, incidentally, said he’d “straightaway” book both — a comment reported in these columns.

Even at the best of times, an Indo-Pak series is very sensitive. Because of a number of reasons, this one is more so.

Roshan Mahanama

Mahanama had this to say: “This is clearly a high profile and a 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, which led to the umpires and his team mates intervening.”

Both Dhoni and Mohammed Hafeez have specifically been told that the behaviour of their players has to be “exemplary.”

At all times, one may add.