Afghan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad on Wednesday was suspended for Afghanistan’s upcoming two matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018.
According to reports, the suspension came after his accumulated demerit points reached four within a 24-month period following his latest breach of the ICC Code of Conduct for which he received a 15 percent fine and one demerit point.
During a match against Zimbabwe at the Bulawayo Athletic Club on Tuesday, Shahzad was found guilty of breaching Article 2.1.8, which related to “abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings during an international match”.
As Shahzad had been fined 100 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points in a Twenty20 International against the United Arab Emirates at the Dubai International Stadium on 12 December 2016, the addition of this one demerit point took him to the threshold of four demerit points, which, pursuant to article 7.6 of the Code, have now been converted into two suspension points.
Consequently, Shahzad will now miss Afghanistan’s matches against Hong Kong and Nepal, which will be played in Bulawayo on 8 and 10 March, respectively.
Tuesday’s incident happened when Shahzad, after being caught by Malcolm Waller off Tendai Chatara for 30 in the ninth over, hit his bat hard on the pitch adjacent to the match pitch, which left a significant divot on the turf.
Shahzad admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee David Jukes and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing.
Meanwhile, Brendan Taylor of Zimbabwe and Afghanistan’s 16-year-old Mujeeb Rahman have also been sanctioned for separate incidents during the match.
Taylor was fined 15 percent of his match fee and received one demerit point after pleading guilty to the charge, while Mujeeb was fined 50 percent of his match fee and got three demerit points following a hearing that took place on Wednesday morning after he had denied the offence and opted to contest the charge at a full hearing. The Afghanistan team management and the match officials attended the hearing, at which he was found guilty by the match referee.
The charges were laid by on-field umpires Chris Brown and Chettithody Shamsuddin and third umpire Paul Wilson.