The Melbourne Stars coach David Hussey has been fined A$ 2000 after claiming during an in-play TV interview that he walked on the pitch while wearing spikes before the match against the Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide Oval.
The match officials viewed footage of the interview – which was conducted during the ninth over of the Stars’ innings – and originally charged Hussey with attempting to gain an unfair advantage. Hussey claimed it was a joke and was cleared of the initial charge and instead accepted a sanction under actions contrary to the spirit of cricket.
In a cross with the commentary box, Hussey had been asked about the impact the Stars’ spinners had earlier in the match and said: “There was a lot of spin. Early on, you aren’t meant to walk on the cricket pitch, but I did with some spikes and the spikes went in and I thought a little bit of moisture in there so the spin might help.”
When pressed by Brendon McCullum, he added: “You just want to see what the pitch is like, Brendon. You want to dot every I and cross every t and try to get the competitive advantage over the opposition.”
In a statement, Cricket Australia said what Hussey described during the interview was deemed to be contrary to Section 6.3.4 of the BBL playing conditions, which state: “Prior to the start of play, only the captain and team coach may walk on the pitch to assess its condition. Spiked footwear is not permitted at this time.”
Hussey challenged the initial charge under Article 2.18 (attempting to gain an unfair advantage) at an independent code of conduct hearing in Melbourne on Friday on the grounds his comments were made in jest but accepted the subsequent charge and sanction under Article 2.23 which covers “… conduct that either: (a) is contrary to the Spirit of Cricket; (b) is unbecoming of a representative or official; (c) is or could be harmful to the interests of cricket; or (d) does or could bring the game of cricket into disrepute.”
“I would like to apologise for my comments made at our match against the Strikers on Wednesday,” Hussey said. “These comments were made in jest and in a light-hearted moment with the commentators. I never intended to suggest that I had in any way broken the rules of the game. I realise that my comments, broadcast to our fans and supporters, may have undermined the Spirit of Cricket and for this I apologise.”