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'As bad as it gets': Further drama as BBL Pom's 'f--khead' sledge revealed after copping mega ump intimidation ban

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21st December, 2023
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The Sydney Sixers will appeal a four-match ban slapped on English allrounder Tom Curran for his alleged intimidation of a Big Bash League match official.

Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday announced Curran had been charged with a level-three offence under clause 2.17 in the code of conduct.

The clause relates to “intimidation or attempted intimidation of an umpire, match referee or medical personnel whether by language or conduct (including gestures) during a match”.

The charge stemmed from an incident during the warm-up before the Sixers’ clash with the Hobart Hurricanes in Launceston on December 11.

In a statement, CA said Curran was involved in an altercation with an umpire after completing a practice bowling run-up in which he ran onto the pitch.

He was instructed not to enter the pitch, then went to the other end to complete another practice run-up.

“The umpire took position next to the stumps, blocking Curran from approaching the pitch and gestured to Curran to move away from the pitch,” CA said in the statement.

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“Curran was seen in the footage gesturing to the umpire to move away from the pitch.

“Curran then attempted to perform a practice run up and run at pace straight towards the umpire who stood in the bowling crease facing Curran.

“The umpire stepped to his right to avoid the risk of collision.”

Curran contested the charge and the matter was heard by code of conduct commissioner Adrian Anderson, who found the player guilty of the offence.

Anderson imposed a penalty of four suspension points, resulting in a four-match ban.

Vision of the incident was revealed on Channel 7’s The Spin after Thursday night’s BBL match between the Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Renegades, with host Jason Richardson slamming the incident as ‘totally and utterly ridiculous’.

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“This is the first time I have seen it. This is coming from an experienced international cricketer who has clearly had a brain fade there. You can’t intimidate an umpire like that.”

However, former women’s cricket great Lisa Sthalekar was less quick to slam Curran, suggesting the Englishman may not have heard the umpire’s instruction to cease running on the pitch.

“The first time that he does it, the umpire tries to catch his attention but he’s already run through,” Sthalekar said.

“Then he has the conversation when he’s at the top of the mark, and you could hear the ground announcer – there’s a lot of voice, we’ve got the stump mic. 

“This is the first run through: so he’s like “Sorry, mate”, and he keeps running through. He hasn’t heard him.

“I think there is a lot of gesturing, I don’t know if he could actually really hear all of that. We can hear it because of the stump mic.

“I think there was an element of two guys not letting go of their ego.”

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“Well, right or wrong, you cannot intimidate an umpire in a physical fashion like that,” former Australian men’s international Brad Hodge interrupted.

“That’s as bad as it sort of gets in terms of physicality towards an umpire.”

However, Sthalekar later doubled down on her criticism of the umpire as well as Curran, as well as suggesting the sanction of four games is too harsh.

“My understanding – the last time this type of level of offence [happened] was Sandpapergate,” she said.

“Yes, it doesn’t look good – I think both were actually slightly in the wrong, albeit the umpire always has the final say. That’s what we’re taught.”

Adding fuel to the fire, SEN‘s Tom Morris alleged Curran called the umpire a ‘f–khead’ during the confrontation.

“My understanding is that he ran past the umpire and then said, ‘If you stand in the way, I’d have nowhere to go, you f–khead’,” Morris said.

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“It’s an amazing slur towards the umpire. Even that in itself is worth a suspension.”

However, Sixers boss Rachael Haynes has confirmed the club will ‘vigorously’ appeal against the sanction, arguing Curran didn’t intentionally intimidate the umpire.

“Tom and the club maintain that Tom did not knowingly or intentionally intimidate a match official, and on legal advice, we will exercise our right to appeal the decision,” Haynes said in a statement.

“We will support Tom during this period and look forward to him returning to the field.”

Curran took 3-19 from four overs as the Sixers posted a six-wicket win over the Hurricanes with four balls left.

(with AAP)

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