Windies board mulls suspended sentence for Samuels

May 13th, 2008 - 2:19 pm ICT by admin  

Port of Spain, May 13 (IANS) West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels may be given a suspended sentence instead of a ban after being found guilty of hobnobbing with a bookmaker January last year when the Caribbean side toured India. The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said Monday that its disciplinary committee found by a “majority opinion” at a hearing Friday that Samuels was guilty of violating the International Cricket Council (ICC) Rules of Conduct 4 (ix) in that he “received money, benefit or other reward which could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute”.

However, the panel of Adrian Saunders (chairman), Lloyd Barnett, Aubrey Bishop and Richie Richardson has written to the president of the WICB Julian R. Hunte, expressing concern about the propriety of prescribing mandatory minimum punishments generally and particularly for the specific offence with which Samuels was charged.

The panel, which will now pass on its findings to the ICC, said that considering Samuels’ good behaviour, it would prefer recommending a suspended sentence instead of a ban.

The ICC rules prescribe a minimum two-year ban for the violation of which Samuels was found guilty, effective from May 9, 2008, the date of the hearing.

ICC spokesman Brian Murgatroyd said the ICC would see if the two-year ban recommended was satisfactory.

The WICB decision would go to the chairman of the ICC’s code of conduct commission headed by Michael Beloff to assess the quantum of penalty.

“I cannot speculate on what the official enquiry will say, but obviously it doesn’t have the power to reduce the punishment,” Murgatroyd said.

The final decision on the ban will be known when the ICC board meets on July 2. Samuels cannot play in any cricket, official or unofficial, during the period of suspension.

In February last year, the Nagpur police informed the Indian board and the ICC that they had tapes of Samuels passing on information to an alleged bookie on the eve of the West Indies’ first one-day international against India Jan 21, 2007.

Samuels, who has played 29 Test matches, scoring 1,408 runs at an average of 28.73, was allowed to play in the last year’s World Cup while investigations continued, but was subsequently charged by the WICB disciplinary committee.

The 27-year-old right-handed batsman, has denied any wrongdoing. At Friday’s hearing the disciplinary committee dismissed a second charge alleging that Samuels engaged in conduct which is prejudicial to the interests of the game.

Samuels was also suspended from bowling in January after independent analysis of his action revealed his off-break and faster deliveries exceeded the 15 degrees level of tolerance permitted under regulations.

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