Calcutta/London: Australia coach Darren Lehmann has been fined 20 per cent of his match fee by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after pleading guilty to a charge of publicly criticising and making inappropriate comments about England player Stuart Broad in relation to an incident that occurred in the fourth Ashes Test.
An ICC media release, on Thursday, said: “Lehmann was found to have breached Article 2.1.7 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to an incident occurring in an International match or any player, player support personnel, match official or team participating in any International match.”
Lehmann admitted the offence and accepted the proposed sanction offered to him by Roshan Mahanama of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees. As such, there was no need for a formal hearing.
The charge related to comments made by Lehmann on the eve of the ongoing fifth and final Ashes Test during an interview on Australian radio.
The charge was laid by ICC chief executive David Richardson.
“Whilst noting the context and nature of the comments made, showing mutual respect for one’s fellow professionals — including for coaches, players and match officials — is a cornerstone of how we play the game.”
The range of permissible sanctions for all first Level 1 offences is a warning or reprimand and/or the imposition of a fine of up to 50 per cent of the applicable match fee.
Lehmann referred to Broad as a “cheat” for not walking when he edged a ball to first slip in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge and urged Australian fans to “give it to him” during the return series, adding he hopes he “goes home crying”.
Nasser Hussain, the former England captain, said Lehmann’s comments could endanger England players when they go to Australia. “These boys go out on an evening, they don’t sit in their hotel room,” Hussain said.
“That’s more likely where Broad will have to be careful because after these words, there might be some Aussie out there that, after having a few beers on an evening, wants to have a little go at Broad.”
Lehmann’s interview was largely conducted in a jokey style with a radio show on Melbourne’s Triple M network. But Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds have both faced disciplinary action from Cricket Australia in the past after being lured into making unwise comments by the radio station.
Hayden described Harbhajan Singh as a “little obnoxious weed” in 2008 and Symonds called Brendon McCullum a “lump of s” in 2009.
England did not rise to the bait with James Anderson saying Broad would not be ruffled by the abuse. “Stuart does not need any extra firing up. He is a world-class bowler. He has shown that in this series and he has played a lot of cricket so he does not need any extra winding up.”
Broad will be the pantomime villain for Australian audiences in the same way David Warner has been booed on occasions in this series.
“I’m happy with that,” said Shane Watson. “Even the last time in the Ashes series at home, especially day four and five, it felt like we were playing in England with all the Barmy Army floating around.”