Referee rebukes Broad for 'wide ball' protest

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The Independent Online

Stuart Broad had his first brush with officialdom at the conclusion of England's 54-run defeat to India on Monday and, judging by the aggressive and slightly confrontational way in which the fast bowler plays cricket, it is unlikely to be his last. Broad was hauled in front of Roshan Mahanama, the match referee, after reacting petulantly to a rather harsh wide call from the match umpire, Russell Tiffin.

Broad's behaviour led to Tiffin speaking to him and Kevin Pietersen, the England captain, but he continued to show his disappointment after his next two balls, which were straight. Broad's look in his follow-through basically said "was that straight enough".

"It was a borderline case as far as disciplinary action is concerned," said Mahanama. "We just wanted to have a word with him to say that that was not the way to react. Being a young lad I thought it would be best to speak to him first to nip it in the bud. We expect players to show greater respect to an umpire."

Commenting on how his father Chris, a strict ICC match referee, would have treated him Broad said: "He would probably have fined me my whole match fee. I was just given a talking to, told that I shouldn't show disappointment like that."

Broad is not the only player Mahanama has spoken to in the series. The former Sri Lankan opener called Harbhajan Singh in to his room after the first one-dayer in Rajkot, after the controversial off-spinner waved at Samit Patel as if to say "cheerio" when he had dismissed him.

England, having lost the opening two games, need to win tomorrow morning's third one-dayer in Kanpur if they are to have a realistic chance of winning the seven-match series. Pietersen's side will contemplate making changes to the team, which has been totally outplayed in Rajkot and Indore.

Graeme Swann must come into the side to accompany the inexperienced Patel. There is also a feeling that England's batting needs greater firepower at the top of the order. Matthew Prior has scored just one half-century and averages 23 in 29 games, and his position as an opener must be under threat. Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara are candidates. If Shah were to open it would allow Pietersen to bat at three, the position from where he can boss games here.

The biggest dilemma facing England, though, is getting Yuvraj Singh out cheaply. In the opening two games he has scored 256 runs off only 200 balls. England's bowlers will be hoping that the Green Park pitch has more bounce in it than those they have so far played on.

"We have to get Yuvraj early, in the first six balls," said Broad. "He is in great form and in Indian conditions he is one of the best around. On these slow wickets it is quite hard to get the ball around his nose. We have a plan to try and rough him up a bit and for the first six or seven balls he faced we looked as though we could get him out. The plan is OK in England but here the pitches are slow and low and it is hard."

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