Cricket: Wessels in the dock

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

KEPLER WESSELS, the South African captain, was last night accused of hitting India's all-rounder Kapil Dev with his bat during the second one-day international in Port Elizabeth.

The incident came shortly after another controversial moment when Kapil, who was about to bowl the ninth over, ran out Peter Kirsten when he backed up too far.

Kirsten argued with the umpires and Indian players and there was a considerable delay before he reluctantly left the field.

Three balls later Kapil needed treatment for a shin injury after Wessels's bat appeared to collide with the bowler as the South African turned for a second run.

The match referee, Clive Lloyd, is now to investigate Kirsten's and Wessels's actions following a complaint by the Indian manager, Amrit Mathur.

'Kirsten showed dissent against the umpires and provoked the crowd by staying in the middle,' Mathur said. 'Wessels was at fault in striking Kapil on the shin. These acts violate the ICC (International Cricket Council) Code of Conduct and it is now for the referee to take action.'

Lloyd, the former West Indies captain, can fine a player up to 75 per cent of his match fee the South Africans are estimated to receive around pounds 650 a match and suspend him for up to three internationals in the seven-game series.

Twice in the last 11 days of the 'Friendship Tour' in the Johannesburg Test and the Cape Town one-day international Kapil had threatened to run out Kirsten as he backed up but did not do so. Mike Proctor, the South African coach, said Kirsten 'wasn't warned during this match. I don't believe the incident was in the spirit of cricket. He was backing up very gently'.

Mathur said: 'It is preposterous to doubt Kapil's sportsmanship and commitment to the values of the game. When the batsman is repeatedly seen to be taking an unfair advantage this is valid. I think it is wrong to imply India have flouted the spirit of the game.'

Mohammad Azharuddin, the Indian captain, said: 'We warned him two times. He can't just go on doing it.'

The incidents, however, did not divert South Africa from the business of going 2-0 up in the series. Chasing a modest total of 148 they cruised home to a six-wicket victory with 20 balls to spare.

The South African all-rounder Brian McMillan, who took 4 for 32, was voted man of the match.

The game passed off without interruption from the Azanian People's Organization, a radical anti-apartheid group which had threatened to disrupt it, but a number of protesters were arrested outside the ground.

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