Players fined for Tweet indiscretions

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The Independent Online

The Tweeters were brought to book yesterday. In decisive actions demonstrating that misuse of social networking sites has no place in English cricket and that the reputation of the chairman of selectors, Geoff Miller, must be protected at all costs, Kevin Pietersen and Dimitri Mascarenhas were both fined.

In separate hearings following their outbursts on Twitter, which both showed a command of industrial language, Pietersen was dealt with by the England and Wales Cricket Board and fined an undisclosed sum while Mascarenhas was relieved of £1,000 by his county, Hampshire.

Their punishments should finally bring to an end cricketers' recent fondness for unburdening their souls via today's message service of choice. On being dropped from the one-day squad last week, Pietersen said: "Yep, done for rest of summer. Man of the World Cup Twenty20 and dropped from the T20 side too. It's a fuck up!!"

If this was a veiled reference that Pietersen did not entirely agree with the selectors in general and Miller in particular, Mascarenhas was much more explicit. In two Tweets he wrote: "Chairman of selectors came and didn't even come say hi.. What a prick ... Doesn't take much to say hello does it??" followed by: "Geoff miller is a complete knob..He had no clue what he is doing..Fing prick."

Pietersen was dealt with at a hearing in London attended by the England team managing director, Hugh Morris, and the team's coach, Andy Flower, who must have been delighted to leave his team's preparations for the second Twenty20 international in Cardiff today. With modern coaching methods and aides, of which Flower is a devotee, he must have thought, comes modern communication practices.

Both players apologised, Pietersen unreservedly and Mascarenhas specifically to Miller. It seems that the Hampshire captain, who has been out injured for most of the season, had been on a night out with friends when he tweeted. "I said those things, I can't deny that," Mascarenhas told Sky Sports News. "Unfortunately these are the things that happen when you have too much to drink. 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." England appear to have got along very nicely without Pietersen, having beaten Pakistan by five wickets in the first T20 on Sunday.

Pakistan have weightier matters still to deal with. It was announced yesterday that the country's Federal Board of Revenue will investigate the assets of all Pakistan players and cricket officials. This seems peculiar in a country where only 11 per cent of the population pay income tax.

England (probable): C Kieswetter, SM Davies (wkt), RS Bopara, PD Collingwood (capt), EJG Morgan, LJ Wright, MH Yardy, T Bresnan, SCJ Broad, GP Swann, RJ Sidebottom.

Pakistan (probable): S Hasan, K Akmal (wkt), M Yousuf, U Akmal, F Alam, Shahid Afridi (capt), A Razzaq, U Gul, W Riaz, S Ajmal, Shoaib Akhtar.

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