Pietersen fined over Twitter comments

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Kevin Pietersen was one of two cricketers fined for their foul-mouthed Tweeting today.

Pietersen was fined an undisclosed amount following an England and Wales Cricket Board disciplinary meeting at Lord's today, and Hampshire have acted swiftly to force their captain Dimitri Mascarenhas to pay £1,000.

Pietersen inadvertently broke the news last week that he was to be dropped from England's limited-overs squad to face Pakistan, several hours before the list of names was officially announced.

He told followers of his Twitter feed: "Done for rest of summer!! Man of the World Cup T20, and dropped from the T20 side too.

"It's a f***-up ..."

Pietersen's uncouth faux pas followed a similar one in July from former England Under-19s captain Azeem Rafiq, who was fined £500 and banned from all cricket for a month.

It preceded a third unfortunate Tweet yesterday from Mascarenhas, whose followers received a rant from the ex-England all-rounder about national selector Geoff Miller.

England coach Andy Flower travelled from his team's current base in Cardiff - where they will face Pakistan in a NatWest International Twenty20 tomorrow - to attend Pietersen's hearing in London. Hugh Morris, managing director - England Cricket, was also present.

An ECB statement read: "The hearing considered two charges against Kevin Pietersen relating to recent comments made on Twitter following his omission from England's one-day squad for the NatWest Series against Pakistan.

"Pietersen pleaded guilty to both charges and offered an unreserved apology to ECB and the England team management for his actions.

"The hearing considered his comments to be prejudicial to the interests of Team England and ECB and a significant breach of the England player conditions of employment.

"He has been fined an undisclosed sum in accordance with the terms and conditions of his England central contract."

The punishment for Mascarenhas - currently out with a long-term injury - was announced by Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove this afternoon, shortly after Pietersen had learned his fate.

Bransgrove said: "Having had the incident brought to my attention by the ECB yesterday, I discussed the circumstances overnight with team manager Giles White.

"As a result, I met with Dimitri Mascarenhas today and formally censured him - imposing a fine of £1000.

"The fine has been set at this high level, because I feel there is little point in imposing a ban, given the long-term nature of his injury.

"In coming to this conclusion, I have taken into consideration Dimi's previous exemplary record.

"However, as club captain, he understands his actions carry more responsibility than others'.

"Hampshire Cricket regrets the entire incident which, although thoroughly out of character for Dimitri Mascarenhas, breaches the club's code of conduct.

"Further, it will be a warning to all players about the dangers of conducting personal or private dialogue on publicly-available media."

Mascarenhas added in the same Hampshire press release: "I realise that my actions were stupid and irresponsible and I regret any offence I may have caused.

"I apologise specifically to Geoff Miller, who has always treated me fairly.

"I also apologise to Hampshire Cricket, whom I feel I have let down.

"This was a silly, late-night conversation that got out of control and doesn't reflect my true views on Mr Miller.

"I have learnt a great deal about the dangers of social networking sites and encourage other players to think carefully before signing up to them."

Mascarenhas said he would personally apologise to Miller for his remarks, which he sent after a night out with friends.

"I said those things, I can't deny that. Unfortunately these are the things that happen when you have a too much to drink," he added on Sky Sports News.

"It's been a very frustrating year for myself. I was out with a few mates, it got to the early hours and as you do you think you're invincible and I did something very stupid.

"It was a crazy thing."

Pietersen's England colleague Stuart Broad is neither a Tweeter, nor a follower.

But like Flower, he believes "responsible" Tweeting is the key.

"You go on Twitter to put yourself out there, to get in the public domain and to let your voice be heard.

"But the players are aware of the responsibilities you have with that - we know that you have followers and people are always aware of what you are writing.

"As sportsmen, we are aware we have a responsibility to not only ourselves but to our team-mates."

He cites England's James Anderson and Graeme Swann as two expert Tweeters, who have yet to cause any consternation with their light-hearted observations.

"What they do really well is that they don't make statements about teams. They use it as a joke and don't write mundane, boring things. It's all good fun.

"Jimmy and Swanny are two examples of good Tweeters, if there is such a thing."

Broad accepts nonetheless that if ECB decide to try to call a halt to the Tweets, even Swann and Anderson will have to accept it.

"Ultimately we are responsible as players and we are employed by people above us, so if they choose to get rid of it that is a situation that people will have to deal with."