Stewart plans swift action in Surrey tampering row

Surrey 217 & 404 v Notts 692-7dec, Nottinghamshire win by an innings and 71 runs
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The Independent Online

Micky Stewart last night promised swift and savage action against the Surrey player, or players, found guilty of tampering with the ball at the start of this game.

Micky Stewart last night promised swift and savage action against the Surrey player, or players, found guilty of tampering with the ball at the start of this game.

Stewart, the former England manager who is heading the internal inquiry into the ball tampering, did not rule out the possibility of a sacking, although suspensions and fines are more likely.

The 72-year-old, who made his Surrey debut in 1954 and has done pretty well every job here since retiring in 1972, including team manager, committee member, president and now chairman of cricket, said: "What has happened is not good for the name of Surrey County Cricket Club and it will be treated accordingly. The action the club takes will be very significant. Ideally, we want to get it all done and dusted before the next match starts on Wednesday."

Whatever decision Stewart and his colleagues take will be notified to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) before it is made public. Stewart intends speaking to all the players, including the stand-in captain, Mark Ramprakash.

As captain of the day in the absence of the injured Mark Butcher, Ramprakash could be vulnerable to some form of disciplinary action under ECB regulations. A suspension would be a blow to Surrey since the former Middlesex player has been their main source of runs so far this season.

Yesterday, Ramprakash was able to throw a thin cloak of respectability around his team's second-innings performance by scoring his third hundred in successive matches and the 76th of his career.

But while his near six-hour occupation of the crease, which subsequently inspired Martin Bicknell (2 hours), Jimmy Ormond (1 hour 45 minutes) and Nayan Doshi (almost an hour) to dig in for Surrey, it only prevented Nottinghamshire from taking their own decisive action.

Ramprakash shared in a 101-run seventh-wicket stand in 30 overs with Bicknell, who hit a useful half-century. The pair of them fell in successive overs, but then Ormond and Doshi edged, nudged and misjudged a further 57 runs.

Mohammad Akram helped add 51 for the final wicket with Ormond, a stand interrupted by rain, before off-spinner Graeme Swann had the admirable Ormond caught behind to give Nottinghamshire victory and a place at the top of the Championship table.

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