Sheffield Shield 2015-16
Lewis sanctioned for ball tampering
Victoria Bushrangers coach hit with $2,266 fine for scrapping ball along concrete gutter in Shield final
29 March 2016, 10:07 AM AEST
Victoria Bushrangers bowling coach Mick Lewis has been fined after pleading guilty to ball tampering in the Sheffield Shield final against South Australia.
In the 10th over of South Australia's second innings on Monday, cameras picked up Lewis - who had gone to retrieve the match ball from near the boundary fence on the western side of Gliderol Stadium - kicking the ball onto the concrete gutter under the fence.
Upon leaning down to pick up the ball, he was then seen to rake the ball across the concrete before throwing it back to the fielders.
Victoria were penalised five runs as a result and on Tuesday morning, it was announced that Lewis had been charged by match referee Steve Bernard for a Level Two Offence under Cricket Australia's Code of Behaviour and was fined $2,266 - an amount equal to 50 per cent of a player's match fee.
Quick Single: Former players criticise Lewis for Shield incident
"Ball tampering is a very serious offence and simply won't be tolerated at any level of the game," said Cricket Australia's Head of Operations Sean Cary.
"Match Referee Steve Bernard addressed the matter as soon as it was brought to his attention, spoke at length to Mick Lewis about it and has handed down the subsequent penalty.
"We acknowledge that he has apologised to the South Australian team and the match officials and hope the matter deters others from doing anything like this in the future."
Cricket Victoria CEO Tony Dodemaide said the Bushrangers were "committed to playing fair cricket in the spirit of the game" and "does not condone any action to gain an unfair advantage in any form".
"Myself and Cricket Victoria chairman Russell Thomas immediately spoke to Mick and he has apologised unreservedly and understands that this reflects unfairly on the Bushrangers and all of Victorian cricket," Dodemaide said today.
"Mick pleaded guilty to Cricket Australia's code of behaviour breach and has also accepted a severe reprimand, imposed upon him as a Cricket Victoria employee, and assured us that actions such as this will not happen again.
"Mick also went personally to South Australian coach Jamie Siddons and apologised after the day's play.
"Victorian coach David Saker was extremely disappointed in Mick's actions and also that he cost the side five runs in what could be a very close match.
"We believe that Mick will learn a valuable lesson from this and understands this type of behaviour will not be tolerated."
As this was Lewis's first offence of CA's Code of Behaviour within the past 18 months and he accepted the charge, no hearing was required.
Lewis was found to have breached Law 42 of Cricket Australia's Playing Conditions for the Sheffield Shield, which states in part: "If the umpires together agree that the deterioration in the condition of the ball is greater than is consistent with the use it has received, they shall consider that there has been a contravention of this Law. They shall then decide together whether they can identify the player(s) responsible for such conduct."
The law continues: "If it is possible to identify the player(s) responsible, the umpires shall change the ball forthwith ... additionally the bowler's end umpire shall: Award 5 penalty runs to the batting side, inform the captain of the fielding side of the reason for the action taken, inform the captain of the batting side as soon as practicable of what has occurred and together with the other umpire report the incident to the Match Referee, who shall take action as is appropriate against the player(s) responsible."
Some of Australia's modern greats took to Twitter on Monday night to criticise Lewis, with former Test opener Greg Blewett labelling the incident a "disgrace".
Former Australia players Jason Gillespie, Michael Clarke and Ryan Harris also weighed in.