LUCKNOW, Afghanistan, CMC – West Indies strokemaker Nicholas Pooran was slapped with a four-match ban for ball-tampering, casting a dark shadow over the Caribbean side’s recent one-day whitewash of Afghanistan.
The incident took place during the third One-Day International on Monday when television footage showed the 24-year-old “scratching the surface of the ball with his thumbnail”.
The 24-year old Queen’s Park Cricket Club player will now miss the three-match Twenty20 International series against the Afghans starting here Thursday and also sit out the first T20 of another three-match series against India next month.
There was no need for a formal hearing after the Trinidadian accepted the ban.
“I want to issue a sincere apology to my teammates, supporters and the Afghanistan team for what transpired on the field of play on Monday in Lucknow,” Pooran said in a statement.
“I recognise that I made an extreme error in judgement and I fully accept the ICC penalty. I want to assure everyone that this is an isolated incident and it will not be repeated. I promise to learn from this and come back stronger and wiser.”
Pooran, a talented left-handed batsman, has also been hit with four suspension points which translates into five demerit points.
In response Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt said: “Mr Pooran is a young player who has made a grave error of judgement. He will suffer the penalty and will be missed from the team as a result. I am confident that this situation will be used by Pooran, and all concerned in CWI, as a learning experience.”
Skerritt said the incident takes some of the shine off West Indies’ first one-day series win in five years and the subsequent whitewash after the Caribbean side beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in the opening ODI last Thursday before clinching the series with a 47-run victory last Saturday.
Manager of the Guyana Amazon Warriors team Omar Khan in response to the news said, “I have known Nicholas since he made his debut a few years back and I can tell you that he is not one that will deliberately bring the game into disrepute. He must have gotten caught up in the moment and made a silly error. We must remember that he is a young man who is fiercely competitive and wants his team to win. He went overboard there with that situation and now he pays the price.” Khan who was his manager at the Hero CPL 2019 added: “We must stand with him and give him all the support that he needs at this time. He is a decent guy and one who will not want to harm the sport of cricket and affect his reputation of the West Indies team and also himself. He has to understand the consequences of his action and I am positive that he will come back very strong from this situation.”
The ban comes as a huge blow for the left-hander whose star has been on the rise over the last 12 months, becoming one of the West Indies’ most dependable batsmen.
He was their leading scorer at the ICC World Cup earlier this year where he averaged 52, returned home to average 36 in a three-match ODI series against India and was last week praised for his maturity after scoring a match-winning 67 against Afghanistan in the second ODI last Saturday.
Pooran currently boasts an ODI career average of 44.58, will return to Yorkshire as an overseas player for the 2020 season and has signed to play in the majority of next year’s T20 Blast, having featured for the county in that competition in 2019.