The ECB Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) today confirmed that Gareth Batty has received an automatic suspension under the ECB's Directives.
During the Friends Life t20 Quarter Final between Surrey and Somerset on 6th August 2013, Batty was reported by umpires Tim Robinson, Michael Gough and Steve O'Shaughnessy for two Level Two breaches of the directives:
Level 2(b) - inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play
Level 2(f) - using language or a gesture that is obscene or of a serious insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator
The penalty for a first Level 2 offence is three points and the penalty for a second Level 2 offence within 24 months is six points. Batty has therefore received a total of nine penalty points, triggering an automatic suspension for a period of two matches. This penalty will remain on his record for a period of two years.
Gerard Elias QC, Chairman of the CDC, has considered the powers which fall to the CDC in these circumstances. He is entirely satisfied that the discretion afforded by the Fixed Penalties Directive 3.6.18 is appropriately exercised in applying the 2 match automatic suspension on Gareth Batty to the next two matches in the Friends Life t20 (or equivalent competition) for which he would be eligible to play.
Mr Elias has had the opportunity to study video footage of the incidents involving Gareth Batty during and after the match, as well as to consider the report of the match umpires. He has considered whether to refer these matters to a Disciplinary Panel to consider whether any further penalty should be imposed but on balance has decided not to do so. However he noted that:
"This was a high profile televised match with much at stake for both sides. In these circumstances, the Cricket Discipline Commission expects players to have regard to the image of the game and their place as role models, and to control their emotions accordingly.
“Gareth Batty was not merely a player but was the Surrey Captain. His conduct as such was appalling. Not only was he involved in deliberately and inappropriately physically confronting a batsman he had just dismissed, he subsequently engaged in a foul mouthed tirade at the batsman. Plainly, he acted contrary to the spirit of the game and in a way which brings cricket into disrepute and failed to set the leadership example expected."
The CDC takes this opportunity to remind players and captains of their duties and responsibilities as ambassadors for the game. So called "high pressure" matches will not be regarded as any excuse for playing the game other than in accordance with the discipline regulations and in the proper spirit.