Cricket: Barnett fined pounds 1,500

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The Independent Online
Sussex 200-9 dec Derbyshire 3-2

For much of the time there was more activity off the field than on it here yesterday.

Off it, as the Dean Jones affair rumbled on, Derbyshire fined their former captain Kim Barnett pounds 500, with a further pounds 1,000 suspended, for breaking the club's ban on public comment about Jones' resignation last week. On it, Sussex, after opting to bat on a pitch with more than a tinge of green, found the ball moving around all day. After battling through the morning session for the loss of one wicket, they probably expected a more prosperous outcome.

So, for that matter, did Barnett, who said he was amazed "not only at the size of the fine but the fine itself". He had apparently said on local radio that he felt the coach, Les Stillman, should dissociate himself from Jones' allegation that he was not being supported by senior players and that the club should hold an internal inquiry.

Barnett, who will appeal against the fine, stayed off the field at tea - interestingly, the umpires allowed a substitute - to prepare a statement in which he said he felt he had not brought the club into disrepute but merely reported the feelings of the majority in the dressing-room. But by issuing that statement Barnett again contravened club rules. Derbyshire's chairman, Mike Horton, said Barnett had not been given permission to make further comment and therefore would be fined the extra pounds 1,000.

An even more bizarre aspect of the day was the sight of Chris Adams, one of the most accomplished slip fielders in the game, fielding on the boundary. The official explanation was Adams - to whom Jones was an influential figure - was "finding it hard to concentrate in his current state of mind".

In the middle, with the ball swinging and moving lavishly off the seam, more confident sides than Sussex would have had their work cut out. And, of course, given the Adams situation, nothing was more certain than the first chance would go to slip, where Rajesh Rao was dropped at five. This concentrated Rao's mind so well that he spent 113 balls over 16 runs, but without his resilience Sussex might well have lost half their wickets before lunch.

Afterwards, Derbyshire got their rewards but so did Sussex when they picked up two wickets after a thoughtful declaration.

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