Cricket: 'Angry' Lamb fined again

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The Independent Online
THE saga over alleged Pakistani malpractices took a further deviation off the seam at Lord's yesterday when Allan Lamb was fined pounds 5,000 and ordered to pay pounds 1,000 costs in the wake of his newspaper claims that Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram indulged in nefarious activities with the ball. Fittingly, having gained due profit in the tabloid circulation war, the paper responsible, the Daily Mirror, has offered to stump up the readies.

Already docked two weeks' wages - understood to be around pounds 1,800 - and suspended for two games by Northamptonshire, Lamb was also reprimanded and 'severely' warned as to his future conduct after the Test and County Cricket Board disciplinary committee found him guilty of a 'deliberate and flagrant breach of board regulations'. According to his solicitor, Alan Herd, he is 'urgently considering' an appeal.

Following the two-and-three-quarter hour hearing, Lamb left HQ in more subdued fettle than he had done after leading Northamptonshire to the NatWest Trophy two weeks ago, an occasion that marked the zenith of his county career. The normally loquacious South African declined to comment, leaving Herd to state that his client was 'very unhappy'. It was significant, he contended, that Lamb had not been charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

'I have already pointed out that we have been refused access to the match referee's or umpires' report as to the reasons for the change of ball at the Texaco one-day international at Lord's on 23 August,' added Herd, highlighting the most contentious aspect of the whole sorry episode, namely the refusal of the International Cricket Council to release the evidence. Herd reiterated that Lamb had made no 'profit from his revelations' and that the Mirror would pay the pounds 5,000 fee to charity.

The punishments meted out to Lamb mean that the 38-year-old Northamptonshire captain has now taken pole position in English cricket's disciplinary hall of shame ahead of Mike Gatting, who was fined pounds 5,000 by the board in 1988 following the publication of unauthorised comments about another Pakistani, Shakoor Rana, in his book, Leading from the Front.

Lamb was dropped by England after winning his 79th cap at Lord's in June and subsequently omitted from the forthcoming tour to India. Lauded in some quarters for going public with sentiments previously expressed by the likes of Martin Crowe and Desmond Haynes, it is widely felt that he would not have done so had his international career not been approaching its sell-by date.