Cricket: Hughes handed suspended fine

MERV HUGHES, the Australian fast bowler, yesterday received his second punishment in a little over 48 hours, this time for clashing with a spectator during the first Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

Hughes, fined nearly pounds 2,000 by the Australian Cricket Board on Wednesday for verbal abuse of the South African batsman Gary Kirsten, was handed a suspended penalty of pounds 1,000 for becoming involved with a fan at the Wanderers Ground after he had been dismissed in the second innings. Hughes smashed his bat into a fence and exchanged heated words with the supporter.

Cameron Battersby, the Australian team manager, said: 'I have decided that Merv Hughes should be severely reprimanded and placed under a suspended fine for the remainder of the tour. Merv has also apologised for his actions and has expressed his sincere regret at his over-reaction to the spectator's remarks.'

The board's chairman, Alan Crompton, rebuked Hughes for his behaviour, and said: 'The board has made it very clear that restraint in the face of provocation should be part of the professionalism required to be demonstrated by every Australian cricketer.'

In the same match, Shane Warne, the Australian leg- spinner, was fined almost pounds 2,000 after an outburst against a South African player. Earlier, both Australians had been reported by the umpires and fined pounds 200 by the match referee, Donald Carr, as the South Africans won the Test by 197 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.