India paceman Zaheer Khan was fined 80 per cent of his match fee Tuesday for unsporting conduct during India’s dominant – and at times heated -second cricket test victory over Australia.
Left-armer Khan took three wickets in four balls on the final morning to help propel India to its 320-run win before attending a hearing with International Cricket Council match referee Chris Broad.
He pleaded guilty to a Level 2 offense for conduct contrary to the spirit of the game for his celebration after the dismissal of opener Matthew Hayden in Australia’s second innings Monday.
He was fielding when Hayden was adjudged lbw to Harbhajan Singh and “circled the batsman and shouted at him in an aggressive manner,” according to the charge.
“Clearly, this sort of behavior is not acceptable at any level of cricket – it showed a lack of respect for the player who had been dismissed,” Broad said. “Respect for the opposition was something that we talked about in the pre-series meeting I had with both captains and so it was disappointing that Zaheer behaved in this way.” Broad considered Khan’s good disciplinary record in delivering the fine. He could have been fined his entire match fee or been banned for a test match.
“He also pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and was very apologetic while also promising not to repeat the offense,” Broad said.
Hayden complained to umpire Rudi Koertzen, who was standing at square leg, when he left the ground in the over before tea Monday.
Hayden’s dismissal sparked a collapse, with Australia losing five wickets for nine runs to slump to 58-5 while chasing an unlikely victory target of 516.
Umpires Rudi Koertzen and Asad Rauf intervened on a number of occasions during the match to call for calm between the players.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni defended the behavior of some of his players – Harbhajan Singh was particularly animated on occasions – during the test.
“The match referee decides that,” Dhoni said. “If there is some aggressive cricket in the field going on, I prefer that. The guys are not really crossing the boundary, so it is OK.” Ponting said he did not mind “chitchat” on the field, but “if players do overstep the line then the umpires get involved.” “They did get involved a couple of times in this game,” he said.
India, which lost 2-1 in Australia in a fractious series in 2007-08, was aggressive throughout the match, playing in the style more typical of its opponents.
Dhoni played down the impact the attitude had in contributing to Tuesday’s win, which gave India a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
“The main way to beat Australia is to play good, consistent cricket,” he said. “If it (the way to beat them) was by using verbals we would have hired some guys who are good at that stuff.
“Ultimately you’ve got to play good cricket. A bit of verbal chitchat going around is fine, it gives some excitement to the game, but it’s got to be between the boundaries.” India can regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by winning the third test, which starts Oct. 29 in Delhi.