De Kock‚ Warner charged over Kingsmead kerfuffle
Quinton de Kock and David Warner have been charged in connection with the stairwell stoush that has turned the Test series between South Africa and Australia into an episode straight out of the tawdry world of professional wrestling.
And it’s Warner who could cop the heavier punishment.
Both players will be on the carpet for “conduct that brings the game into disrepute”.
But De Kock’s charge has been pegged at level one while Warner will walk the plank on level two.
If found guilty De Kock will get away with a fine of up to 50% of his match fee and‚ perhaps‚ a demerit point.
Warner could be in line to lose his whole match fee and be banned for the second test at St George’s Park‚ which starts on Friday.
The ICC announced the charges at 8.08pm (SA time) on Tuesday — more than 48 hours after the incident that prompted the disciplinary action — and the hearings will take place on Wednesday or Thursday.
Whether either or both parties will contest the charges could not be established on Tuesday night.
“The teams have been given until tomorrow to respond to the charges‚” an ICC release said.
Stoush is Australian slang for a medium-sized altercation. A smaller spat is called a blue. A proper brawl is a donnybrook.
But however big or small this mess might be‚ the damage to the respectability of the series has been done by security camera footage of Warner spewing what looked like — there is no audio on the video — verbal abuse at De Kock emerged online on Monday.
The incident erupted on the stairs leading to the dressingroom at Kingsmead on Sunday after the players left the field for tea on the fourth day of the first test.
Warner’s teammates are shown physically steering him away from De Kock‚ and several South African players emerge from their dressingroom onto a communal landing in response to the audible disturbance.
Problems with discipline in the Kingsmead test have already claimed one victim in the shape of Nathan Lyon‚ who was fined 15% of his match fee for “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”.
Lyon had dropped the ball onto the chest of the freshly run out AB de Villiers on Sunday.
That dismissal sparked a spike in the Australians’ aggression levels on the field‚ which got out of hand on the dressingroom stairs.
A way to diffuse what seems sure to be lingering bitterness over the saga has been proposed by Australia coach Darren Lehmann‚ who suggested a clearing of the air before the series resumed.
“I’m sure the captains [Faf du Plessis and Steve Smith] will chat and the coaches [Ottis Gibson and Lehmann] will chat and we'll get away to play the game‚” Lehmann told the travelling Australian press in Durban on Monday.
“The cricket is the most important thing.”
The ongoing fuss over Warnergate has taken the focus off the fact that Australia won the first test by 118 runs early on the fifth day. South Africa’s major problem was a first innings of 162.
So there’s good news and bad news in Dale Steyn targetting the third test at Newlands‚ which starts on March 22‚ for his return from the heel injury he suffered in January.
The good news is that any team would welcome Steyn in their midst.
The bad news is that he is a far more successful bowler than he is a batsman.