Cricket: Lara is banned for one match

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Brian Lara, the game's most celebrated contemporary cricketer, yesterday became only the second player to be suspended under the International Cricket Council code of conduct.

The left-handed West Indies batsman was debarred for a match, fined half his match fee and reprimanded by the ICC referee, Raman Subba Row of England, for his reactions to the umpire's decision against him in the match against New Zealand in the three-day tournament in Goa on Wednesday.

Subba Row handed down the heavy sentences on three charges against Lara. The reprimand was for indicating to umpire Murali that he should call for help from the third umpire using the television replay after giving Lara stumped on a close call off the left-arm spinner, Matthew Hart.

It is an offence specifically covered in the ICC code of discipline, although Indian players have pointedly sought to influence the umpire in the same way more than once in earlier matches without similar action against them.

Lara's fine, thought to be around pounds 250, was imposed for the length of time he stayed at the wicket before walking off and the suspension, the second since Pakistan's Aqib Javed was banned by the Australian referee, Peter Burge, during the tour of New Zealand in 1992/93, also for one match, was for what Lara reportedly told the umpire before his departure.

'I don't like doing this but I'm here and one has a responsibility,' Subba Row said.

The West Indies have lost two of their last three matches and were only saved by the weather in the third against New Zealand, so Lara's absence is a serious setback at a crucial time. As he is also vice-captain to Courtney Walsh, it is especially embarrassing.

It is the second time Lara has been fined this month. He was penalised by the West Indies Board when he missed a specially pre-arranged team meeting in London prior to the tour.