THE West Indies off-spinner Omari Banks has been suspended for 11 days by the ECB for a "blatant" case of ball tampering while playing for Somerset second team.
Banks admitted at a Cricket Disciplinary Commission in Bristol today that he used his thumb and fingernails to tamper with the ball and claimed it was through boredom. The umpire observed him when the ball was thrown to him three times in an over at midwicket during a championship game against Essex at Taunton Vale on July 1. Suspicions were raised when the ball began to swing unexpectedly. Five penalty runs were awarded to Essex, and the player was told he would be reported.
Banks said at the time that it was an isolated incident, that Somerset did not condone and that he deeply regretted his actions. He explained during the panel hearing that he did it out of boredom, he knew he should not do it, it was the first time he had done it and that he would not do it again. He did not think the rest of the team noticed.
Brian Rose, Somersetís director of cricket, who attended the hearing, told the panel that he spoke to Banks and the other players in the club to emphasise that this was a serious matter. He made it very clear that it should not happen again in any form of the clubís cricket. Directive 3.7 of the ECB makes it plain that ball tampering should be regarded as unfair and improper conduct which is prejudicial to the interests of cricket and likely to bring the game into disrepute.
Having considered the evidence and submissions, and having regard to the blatant nature of the offence, the panel concluded that the cricketer should be suspended from all games within the jurisdiction of ECB from today until the July 20, which is likely to be three games.
In addition Somerset CCC were fined £500, and the points gained in the match were ordered to be deducted. These penalties reflected the panelís view that the club had not taken adequate measures to prevent the offence occurring.
The panel also expressed the view that they would expect the club to write to all the players, strongly reminding them of the law and the seriousness with which any breach is regarded. They would further expect the Commission to be provided with a copy of that document.
The panel added that if they had been satisfied that other members of the team were aware of, or were complicit in, what occurred, then the penalty imposed upon the club would have been substantially greater. The club was ordered to pay costs of £500.
The panel was convened on July 9 with Chris Tickle as chairman. The other members were Mike Smith and Alan Moss.