Mitchell Johnson is the new Harry Houdini
In December 2009, Sulieman Benn, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson were involved in a downright ugly altercation at the WACA test
. Johnson wasn't really the trouble-maker then, but less than three months later, during the Napier ODI against New Zealand, he was the instigator.
After being smacked for consecutive boundaries by Scott Styris in the last two balls of his 10-over quota (46th over of the innings
), Johnson totally lost it.
He screamed at Styris and definitely head-butted him (see video #1
and video #2
There were only two reasons why the situation didn't get worse - Styris was wearing a helmet, and Brad Haddin pushed Johnson away from the scene.
Again, as was the case at Perth, the umpire did nothing!
After the game, Ranjan Madugalle, the match referee had a man-to-man talk with Mitchell Johnson and Scott Styris and fined them 60% and 15% of their match fee
Johnson was charged with a level 2 offence (2.2.4 dealing with inappropriate and deliberate physical contact). Styris was charged with a level 1 offence (2.1.8 dealing with actions contrary to the spirit of cricket, bringing the game into disrepute).
So let's go back in time. In December, Johnson brought the game into disrepute and his actions were contrary to the spirit of the game. At that same time, Sulieman Benn was given suspension points
and missed two ODIs.
Yet, while Benn got suspension points, the ICC media release makes no mention of Johnson getting suspension points. I'm definitely not making the case that Benn got a harsh punishment. But the point here is around how somehow the ICC match referees tend to close at least one eye when it comes to judging Australian players' behaviour
One suspension point means the player misses an ODI or T20 international. Two suspension points means the player misses a test or two ODIs/T20 internationals.
Clause 7.3 of the code of conduct deals with repeat offences within a 12 month (not calendar year
) period. A repeat of a level 1 offence results in a fine between 50-100% of the match fee and/or 2 suspension points. A repeat of a level 2 offence results in between 2 and 8 suspension points.
In December, Johnson was hauled up under a level 1 offence charge. Last week, he was hauled up under a level 2 offence. But in both situations, his act was the same - inappropriate physical contact. Given the recurrence, it seems fairly obvious that he should have been suspended for at least 1 ODI, in addition to a monetary penalty.
Since he pleaded guilty early on, thereby escaping the match referee's wrath (?), I hereby anoint Mitchell Johnson the new Harry Houdini.
What's your opinion?
Labels: australia, ban, behaviour, benn, chappell-hadlee, houdini, icc, johnson, match referee, new zealand, spirit of cricket, umpires