The ball-tampering issue involving Nicholas Pooran might not be over. Despite being punished by the International Cricket Council (ICC), Pooran must now wait to see what decision will be made by Cricket West Indies (CWI) who are expecting a report from the manager of the West Indies team Raul Lewis before deciding if to close the matter.
According to CWI’s chief executive officer Johnny Grave, the dashing wicketkeeper/batsman will not be sent home from the tour of India but will be allowed to remain with the team to concentrate on “improving his skills and fitness”.
“Nicholas is staying in India to work on his fitness and skills. The team manager Rawl Lewis will submit a report on the ball- tampering issue to the director of cricket Jimmy Adams which will be shared with our board of directors. Until we receive the report we can’t really comment on whether the matter is closed or not,” Grave told Barbados TODAY.
Last week respected senior cricket commentator Joseph “Reds” Perreira called on CWI to carry out its own probe into Pooran’s on-field conduct despite the matter being initially dealt with by the ICC.
The 24-year-old batsman was charged with violating ICC’s code of conduct as it relates to changing the condition of the ball and banned for four Twenty20 Internationals. This came after video footage caught him scratching the ball with his thumbnail during the third One Day International against Afghanistan in Lucknow, India.
He admitted the offence and accepted the penalty suggested by match referee Chris Board, therefore a hearing was not held.
Pooran subsequently issued a statement apologizing for his actions which he described as an extreme error of judgment.
“I want to assure everyone that this is an isolated incident and will not be repeated. I promise to learn from this and come back stronger,” Pooran said.
In addition to being suspended for four matches, five demerit points were added to Pooran’s record. If no further action is taken against him by CWI, Pooran will be eligible to play in the second Twenty20 International against India at Thiruvanthaputam.
Australian captain Steve Smith, who received a stiffer one-year ban for a similar offence by his domestic board last year, today came out in support of Pooran.
Smith said his former CPL teammate with the Barbados Tridents would learn a lot from the incident, while revealing how much the Newlands scandal during the tour of South Africa last year had helped him to understand his own mental limits and the need for regular breaks to enhance his decision-making.
Pooran, Smith and teammates David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, as well as Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal, have ran afoul of ball-tampering rules over the past 18 months and been punished. Chandimal was suspended for a Test match, given two suspension points and fined all of his match fee after being found guilty of ball-tampering during last year’s second Test against the West Indies in St Lucia.
Smith, the former Australia captain, said that 24-year-old Pooran would gain plenty from the introspection forced by the offence and its penalty.
“Everyone is different, every board is different, and the way they deal with certain issues. For me, I copped it on the chin… it is what it is. I know Nicholas, I’ve played a bit of cricket with him and he’s a talented player and someone with a bright future,” Smith said. “I think he’ll learn from his mistake and move past it.
“I don’t feel hard done by. It was a long time ago now. I’ve moved past it and I’m focusing on the present. I played with him in the Caribbean league at Barbados. I think he’s going to be an exceptional player in white-ball cricket.”
Reflecting on how the scandal had influenced him, Smith said he was now far better at recognising where he was at mentally and whether he needed a break from time to time. Entering the fateful Cape Town Test of 2018, Smith had actually admitted “maybe now my mind is not in as good a space as it was”, yet was compelled to push on through the fatigue accumulated over a summer where he did not get much time to rest. He is now optimistic that he and others will benefit from the painful lessons that followed.
“I’m able to I think catch my mind, where that’s going and the decisions I’m making are a lot more clear with what I’m trying to do,” Smith said. “Every decision you make has got an outcome, good, bad and ugly, whatever, I’m able to think of how it’s going to look before I make that decision a lot of the time.
“Of course, I’ll still make mistakes, I’m a human being, we all do. But being able to catch yourself and the way you’re thinking is something I’ve learnt and something I’ll continue to work on and continue and get better at.”