Broad vows to tone down opinions

Congleton Guardian: England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad has been fined over his comments regarding the umpires in his team's World T20 opener England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad has been fined over his comments regarding the umpires in his team's World T20 opener

England captain Stuart Broad has vowed to keep his opinions to himself in future after being fined for his criticism of match officials following the World Twenty20 defeat to New Zealand on Saturday.

Broad was fined 15 per cent of his match fee after describing the umpires' call to allow play to continue while lightning struck close to the ZACS Stadium in Chittagong as "distinctly average decision-making".

Broad felt players and fans were put in danger by the decision and considered leading his side off in protest, but on Sunday evening he admitted on Twitter that from now on his views might have to stay private to avoid any future sanctions.

He said: "Shame to be fined. Back to bland and unopinionated press conferences I'm afraid. Draw a line onto the next game!"

Broad had said on Saturday night: "To be as polite as I possibly can be I think it was distinctly average decision-making keeping us on after the first lightning strike at the start of the fifth over, keeping us on throughout that.

''I asked the umpires for a bit of clarity on the decision-making at the end of the game and they said they didn't see the lightning and didn't think it was a threat; you can guarantee from our team we felt like it was a threat.

"With a batsman pulling away from a delivery after 4.2 overs I think the batsman saw it as well.

''At the end of the day it's a game of cricket so I wouldn't be putting the crowd and players' safety under threat."

The International Cricket Council announced that Broad had pleaded guilty to a Level 1 charge, having breached Article 2.1.7 of the ICC code of conduct for players and player support personnel.

That article 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".

A thunderstorm ended the game after 5.2 overs of the Black Caps' pursuit of 173, giving New Zealand victory on Duckworth/Lewis, but several flashes of lightning had already been seen uncomfortably close to the ZACS Stadium.

Javagal Srinath, the match referee who sanctioned Broad, said in a statement released by the ICC: "Umpires are the final judges of the fitness of the ground, weather or light for play. Weather decisions are the most difficult to make, but the umpires make the best decision possible, taking all factors into account.

"Such public criticism is not good for the spirit of the game. Mutual respect between players, match officials and administrators is paramount to the game of cricket."

However, Broad's stance drew support from team-mate Michael Lumb.

''I think Stuart covered it in detail but, from a personal point of view, you don't mess around with lightning,'' the opener said on Sunday morning, before the ICC decision to fine Broad was announced.

''There are lives at stake. It was literally right above us and it was pretty scary.

''It would have been a different story if we were waking up this morning talking about guys who were struck by lightning.

''If we were on a golf course, we'd probably have been taken off.

''It's a serious thing and it's not to be messed with. I'd have been quite happy to go off the field (earlier).''

Lumb knows from vivid personal experience the dangers presented by lightning strikes, as a result of spending his formative years in Johannesburg.

He explained: "Obviously I grew up in Jo'burg, so I'm a bit scared of lightning, so I wasn't too happy about (playing on).

"A couple of big flashes happened behind the stand, and I got a bit of a scare. It wasn't easy out there.

"I've played in games where we've gone off for the lightning - it is something you grow up knowing you don't really mess around with.

"At my primary school the tennis courts got hit, everyone on the field got knocked out, their shoes got burnt, the top of their heads got burned. At the local Country Club a father and son were walking back from the driving range, it wasn't even raining, and they got hit. They died.

"It's a regular thing over there and you don't play with it. It's dangerous, it takes lives."

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