Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball and Liam Plunkett fined, warned by ECB
What’s the story?
A week after Ben Stokes and Alex Hales were suspended from the England team following a midnight scuffle in Bristol, three more national cricketers: Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball and Liam Plunkett, have been fined and warned for “unprofessional conduct” during the recently concluded England-West Indies ODI series.
While the actions are totally unrelated to the Stokes incident, if sources are to be believed, the punishment is a crack-down of sorts to correct England cricketers' lifestyles by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
In case you didn’t know…
Only last week, Stokes and Hales were suspended on full pay. They are now the subjects of an ongoing investigation based on an incident in front of a bar in Bristol. Stokes was arrested after a video grab showed him repeatedly punching a 27-year-old man. He was subsequently removed from England’s Ashes squad.
Despite the incident, both Stokes and Hales retained their central contracts with the ECB.
The heart of the matter
A statement by the English Cricket Board said that all three had accepted a formal written warning as well as a fine for their ‘unprofessional conduct’ that was totally unrelated to the ongoing inquiry surrounding Stokes and Hales. Undisclosed sums will be paid to the Professional Cricketers’ Association Benevolent Fund and the Hornsby Professional Cricketers’ Fund.
If reports in a leading UK daily are to be believed, Plunkett had to cough up 'hundreds of pounds' for unacceptable behaviour shown during the ODI series.
While the trio has been let off with just a warning and a fine, Stokes’ punishment is harsher. With the investigation by the Avon and Somerset police still on, the all-rounder won’t travel to Australia for the Ashes.
England’s Cricket Discipline Commission seems to be having a busy time handling out of control cricketers. The hue and cry regarding Stokes and his unavailability against Australia might have become red-hot material for tea-time debates, but the more important aspect to ponder over is how such acts of indiscipline will be monitored much more critically in the future to serve as a warning for others.
The exact reason for the reprimanding of the trio of Ball, Bairstow and Plunkett is still not clear, but the ‘internal investigation’ done by the ECB has brought back the limelight, within a week, on unprofessional conduct by international cricketers, who ought to be dignified in their conduct in order to maintain the sanctity of the game.