Cricket: Stemp to face abuse charge

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RICHARD STEMP must appear before a disciplinary panel on the day England assemble for the third and final Test match against New Zealand. The Yorkshire spinner, 12th man for the first and second Tests, has been ordered to answer a misconduct charge next Tuesday.

Among the penalties that could be imposed if he is found guilty is a four-day suspension. England's selectors meet on Saturday to pick their squad for the Old Trafford Test beginning next Thursday.

Stemp was reported to the Test and County Cricket Board by the umpire David Constant after an incident during last Monday's championship match between Yorkshire and Somerset at Bradford.

Stemp is accused of verbally abusing the Somerset batsman, Mark Lathwell, following a disputed catch and has been ordered to appear before a three-man disciplinary panel in London.

If Stemp is found guilty, he could be reprimanded, cautioned and warned about his further conduct, fined up to pounds 1,000 or suspended for up to four playing days. Alternatively, should the panel consider its powers of punishment to be insufficient, it could refer the case to the full disciplinary committee.

Yorkshire had hoped to deal with the incident themselves. 'We couldn't do anything before seeing the umpires' report, but had set up our own panel for this Sunday,' the chief executive, Chris Hassell said. 'Obviously that won't go ahead now. Normally in these circumstance the TCCB let the county get on with it, but if they want to take it upon themselves that's up to them.'