LUCKNOW, Afghanistan – West Indies strokemaker Nicholas Pooran has been 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”.
On-field umpires Bismillah Shinwari and Ahmed Durrani, along with third umpire Ahmed Pakteen and fourth umpire Izatullah Safi reported the matter and Pooran on Tuesday pleaded guilty to the charge of “changing the condition of the ball”.
He will now miss the three-match Twenty20 International series against the Afghans starting tomorrow, 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 has also been hit with four suspension points which translates into five demerit points.
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.
He was likely to have kept wicket for West Indies in the T20Is, but they have Denesh Ramdin in the squad as back-up, and the 34-year-old will now get to add to his 68 T20I caps, the last of which came a year ago, in November 2018.
Meanwhile, Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt said in a media release that the Trinidad and Tobago left-hander must use the ball tampering incident as a “learning experience”.
“Mr Pooran is a young player who has made a grave error of judgement,” Skerritt said in his statement today.
“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.